Salt Lake City, Utah - TJ Fumagalli made Air Force Academy history by becoming the second Division I player at the Air Force Academy to make it to the quarterfinals of singles action at the ITA Western Regionals, Friday afternoon, at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Air Force opened the day in doubles action, where the Falcons’ top doubles team, Fumagalli and Elizabeth Barnickel, took on the University of Colorado’s top pair.
“It was a match that [Fumagalli and Barnickel] played well enough to win,” said Gidley. “They had four match points and Colorado made them earn every one of them.”
The Falcons were unable to convert, allowing the Colorado duo to cease the momentum in the tie-breaker and rally for a comeback victory. The fifth-seeded duo fell to the No. 1 team from the University of Colorado, 8-7.
“Momentum is one of the most powerful elements in sports,” explained Gidley. “Both teams played well, they just happened to get the momentum at the right time.”
Undeterred by the doubles loss earlier in the day, Fumagalli focused her sights on the singles bracket where she bested Samantha Li of UNLV in straight sets in the round of 16.
“I was really proud of how TJ rebounded in the singles after a heartbreaking loss in the doubles match,” exclaimed Gidley. “She showed a lot of composure to come out strong in the singles. It is tough to beat a strong opponent in straight sets and TJ has done that for two-consecutive days.”
Fumagalli joins former teammate Chloe Forlini, who made the semi-finals of last year’s 128 draw, as the only Div. I Air Force players to advance this far at the ITA Regionals.
“As a team, I feel we are competing at a higher level,” continued Gidley. “The little things are going start counting a lot more now. This time of year we want to learn and keep getting better with every match we play.”
Fumagalli will continue quarterfinals action, Saturday morning, at the George S. Eccles Tennis Center.