Oct. 3, 2008
Columbia, Mo. - On a gorgeous Missouri afternoon five of seven Tigers earned impressive wins over opponents from SMU, Illinois and Louisville. The women faced the toughest competition they've seen this fall as they welcomed three teams whom were all ranked in the top 75 nationally less than a year ago. Play began at 10:30 a.m. Friday morning at the Green Tennis Center in Columbia. With temperatures in the mid 70's all day the women were able to take advantage of the outdoor courts and finished around 3:00 pm.
The day began with a round of doubles including three different mini-draws. Once the doubles matches were complete singles matches followed. The singles play also included three separate mini-draws.
In the Pink, Black and Gold 1 bracket Jamie Mera, Kaitlyn Ritchie and Jessica Giuggioli represented Missouri. Giuggioli would record the first win for the Tigers with a default as her opponent struggled with a foot injury and opted out of the first singles match. Ritchie faced Jo-Ann Van Aerde of Louisville. The women went back and forth during the entire first set but Van Aerde was able to just edge Ritchie 7-6. Van Aerde went on to win the second set 6-1 and moved on to tomorrow's semi-final round. Mera went into three sets with Illinois' sophomore Marisa Lambropoulos. After taking the first set 6-4, Mera dropped the second 1-6, but wasn't quite done. In the tie-breaking match Mera battled hard and was able to land several points on Lambropoulos. Mera earned the win with a 6-3 decision in the third set.
Mizzou went undefeated in the Pink, Black and Gold 2 bracket as Mallory Weber and Sofia Ayala both carded Tiger wins. Playing side-by-side under the sun the pair took each of their matches in two sets over opponents from SMU. Weber finished first with a victory over Megan Garlich, 6-4, 6-2. Ayala followed suit earning the win, 6-4, 7-5, over Sophie Quest.
As the day wound down several spectators and players headed indoors to watch the final match of the day between MU's Maureen Modesto and Gabrielle Duncan of Louisville. Modesto took the first set easily 6-2, and, though it took a little longer, solidified her victory with a 7-5 win in the second set. Modesto will compete in tomorrow's semi-final of the Pink, Black and Gold 3 bracket.
Upon completion of day one the women all headed to their weekend home-away-from-homes. Each team will stay with families, who have opened their doors to the opponents, across Columbia instead of hotels this weekend.
"It's a really nice touch," said Missouri coach Blake Starkey. "They won't have to stay in hotels this weekend. They'll also be able to check out the Roots, Blues and Barbeque Festival downtown and can really enjoy themselves while they're here in Columbia."
With plenty of daylight left after play was finished on Friday many of the women plan to be a part of the expected 100,000 people who will head to downtown Columbia for the festival.
Competition will continue Saturday (Oct. 4) in the Green Tennis Center facilities. Play will begin at 10:30 a.m., as the "Ace For A Cure" theme will peak. Each match will be played using pink tennis balls and participants have each been given a pink "Ace For A Cure" jersey to wear. Tournament t-shirts will continue to be sold for $10 each, until supply runs out. All proceeds from this weekend's tournament will benefit cancer research.
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