Kansas City, Mo. – Air Force swept the weekend with a pair of wins over Rockhurst, 7-0, and UMKC, 4-3, Sunday, in non-conference action on the road.
The Falcons opened the day with fierce competiveness, picking up two of three wins in doubles followed up by six straight-set victories in singles action to secure a 7-0 sweep against Rockhurst.
TJ Fumagalli and Elizabeth Barnickel battled to a 6-3 win in the No. 1 position over Malin and Czarnecki. Freshman duo Meredith Jones and Ashleigh Harvey continued the roll for Air Force, posting a 6-2 win over Barraze and Persson to secure the match point.
Fumagalli led the way in singles with a 6-0, 7-5, win over Emma Persson in the No. 1 position. Barnickel followed suit with a 6-1, 6-0, victory in the No. 2 position over Anilu Barraza. The Falcon freshmen, Jones and Harvey, continued the roll winning the third and fourth position, 6-4, 6-2, and 6-1, 6-2, respectively. Hatcliff, the lone senior on the squad, picked up a point in the fifth position with a 6-1, 6-0, win over Justine Berezintsev. Freshman Clarissa Jolley put the final touches on the sweep with a 6-3, 6-1, win over Sara Flaxbeard.
“The team did a good job of getting on and off the court and taking care of business,” said head coach Kim Gidley. “Rockhurst didn’t give up any easy matches, they made us earn the points to improve to 4-1.”
The Falcons continued action at the Kansas City Racquet Club in their second dual of the day against Missouri-Kansas City, a talented team that qualified for the NCAA tournament in the last two years.
Air Force won the doubles point with victories in the top two positions. The freshmen duo, Jones and Harvey, have basically talked themselves into greatness as they posted a 6-3 victory over Ladutska and Ball. The doubles point came down to the Falcons’ No. 1 doubles team, Fumagalli and Barnickel, who went down early to Johnson and Grechkina, 3-1, but fought tremendously, playing the big points well, to come back and win, 6-4.
In the singles portion, UMKC came out on fire, putting their depth and talent on display. UMKC quickly tied the match with a win at the No. 4 position. Barnickel, a Kansas native and local to the area, would not be denied playing at her home courts as she dominated Katie Fries at No. 2 in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, giving the Falcons a tremendous boost in momentum.
UMKC quickly responded with another win at No. 3. Harvey rebutted for the Falcons in the fifth position as she battled back from a 4-2 deficit to beat Thanushree Vale in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.
In back-and-forth action, the Falcons dropped a hard fought three-set match in the sixth position, leaving the match in the hands of team captain Fumagalli in the first position.
Fumagalli showed resilience as she battled back after losing the first set to Aliona Ladutska, 6-1. The third set was epic and the quality of points was amazing. Fumagalli battled back to a win, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
“It is so neat in our sport that the match can come down to the No. 1 or the No. 6 positions,” exclaimed Gidley. “For our team captain to come from behind and clinch was amazing. This team has such different personalities and game styles, but they function as team as some of the best I have coached.”
“I could not have been prouder of their team effort,” continued Gidley. “UMKC is always such a tough opponent to play at their home courts. The entire match was a battle and tremendous team effort. Our cadets showed a lot of fortitude by staying disciplined and fighting, even when we were down in matches.”
The win propels the battle-tested Falcons to a 5-1 overall record. Air Force continues action against Florida State and Florida A&M on the road, next weekend.
AIR FORCE vs. ROCKHURST, Feb. 11
Barnickel/Fumagalli (AF) def. Malin/Czarnecki (RU) –6-3
Jones/Harvey (AF) def. Barraza/Persson (RU) –6-2
Harris/Berezintsev (RU) def. Hatcliff/Jolley (AF) –6-2
TJ Fumagalli (AF) def. Emma Persson (RU) –6-0, 7-5
Elizabeth Barnickel (AF) def. Anilu Barraza (RU) –6-1, 6-0
Meredith Jones (AF) def. Samantha Czarnecki (RU) –6-4, 6-2
Ashleigh Harvey (AF) def. Octavia Malin (RU) –6-1, 6-2
Carley Hatcliff (AF) def. Justine Berezintsev (RU) –6-1, 6-0
Clarissa Jolley (AF) def. Sara Flaxbeard (RU) –6-3, 6-1
FINAL: AIR FORCE 7, ROCKHURST 0
AIR FORCE vs. MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY, Feb. 11
Barnickel/Fumagalli (AF) def. Johnson/Grechkina (UMKC) –6-4
Jones/Harvey (AF) def. Ladutska/Ball (UMKC) –6-3
Fries/Lathouri (UMKC) def. Laskey/Hatcliff (AF) –6-2
TJ Fumagalli (AF) def. Aliona Ladutska (UMKC) –1-6, 6-3, 6-1
Elizabeth Barnickel (AF) def. Katie Fries (UMKC) – 6-0, 6-2
Melinda Johnson (UMKC) def. Meredith Laskey (AF) –6-1, 6-3
Yana Grechkina (UMKC) def. Meredith Jones (AF) –6-0, 6-2
Ashleigh Harvey (AF) def. Thanushree Vale (UMKC) –7-5, 6-2
Grace Ball (UMKC) def. Carley Hatcliff (AF) –1-6, 7-5, 6-1
FINAL: AIR FORCE 4, UMKC 3