U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. - The Air Force women's tennis squad opened the Air Force Invitational with a strong showing, advancing all three doubles teams to the semi-finals and four-of-seven singles to the finals match.
"Today was a great day to start off a new year, a new season, with a new team," exclaimed head coach Kim Gidley. "You just have to say WOW! The new freshmen really stepped it up and came to play today. As a true freshmen doubles team at the second position, it was fun to see them make the semi-finals of doubles and the finals of singles in their respective flights."
Freshmen Meredith Jones, Ashleigh Harvey and Clarissa Jolley picked up singles wins, while the Jones-Harvey duo advanced to the semi-finals in doubles. Junior Meredith Laskey along with freshman Camryn Deames also advanced to the semi-finals in doubles.
"I can't say I am completely surprised though, as our three upperclassmen set the tone for the young ones to follow," continued Gidley. "TJ Fumagalli and Elizabeth Barnickel both have the experience in doubles and singles and they proved why they qualified for the All-American tournament and are nationally ranked."
Fumagalli and Barnickel, the 52nd-ranked doubles team in the nation, advanced to the semi-finals after downing Montana State's duo, Mary and Podeur. Neither Fumagalli nor Barnickel dropped a set in singles action en route to the finals of the top-two flights.
"It is nice to see upperclassmen leadership here at the Academy on and off the court," explained Gidley. "Overall, it was a day of a lot of fight. Everyone won at least one match and fought in the matches they were behind. With only five official team practices underway, I was impressed."
The second day of the Air Force Invitational is slated to begin Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. MT, at the outdoor tennis courts of Cadet Gymnasium.