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Seward Duo Qualifies for ITA Nationals

KSCB News - September 30, 2014 6:45 am

It is hard to say if Seward County’s tennis duo of Paula Lopez and Paula Coyos can get much hotter right now on the hard court. After all, the pair is a combined 25-2 on the year (with one of those losses coming head to head) while capturing tournament titles at all three of the Lady Saints competitions to start the year. This weekend was no different as the pair cruised to the ITA Regional Championship in doubles, losing just three total games in three matches, to qualify for the ITA National Tournament in Sumter, South Carolina in two weeks, while Lopez didn’t drop a set in her run to the singles title, getting her toughest competition in the semifinals against her teammate Coyos.

Unfortunately for the Lady Saints, the draw of the singles bracket had the makings of a Seward vs. Seward matchup just two rounds in. Top seeded Paula Lopez took care of business in her first match of the tournament against Shali Schoepflin of Cowley by a score of 6-0, 6-1 while fourth seeded Paula Coyos barely broke a sweat in a 6-0, 6-0 mauling of Seminole State’s Hannah Grace. In the quarterfinals it was more domination by the Lady Saints Argentinians. Lopez put another 6-0, 6-1 whooping on Kailey Hamilton of Seminole while Coyos played another nearly flawless match against Eva Forneiron of Cowley to setup the dreaded Lopez vs. Coyos semifinal match. It was Lopez who came out on top of her partner and best friend in a 6-2, 6-3 decision to reach the finals, and the finals was another breeze for the reigning ITA Rookie of the Year as Lopez hammered third seeded Anna Buiukian of Cowley 6-1, 6-3 in the championship match to bring home the ITA Regional Championship and qualify for the ITA National Tournament for the first time.

In doubles action the duo of Lopez and Coyos got to stand on the same side of the court together instead of facing off against one another. In their opening match they obliterated Grace/Wadkins of Seminole State 6-0, 6-0 and didn’t have much more trouble than that against Schoepflin/Sullins of Cowley in the semifinals as they coasted to a 6-0, 6-1 victory to reach the finals. In the finals it was another Seward County blowout as Lopez/Coyos blanked Buiukian/Fornieron 6-0 in the first set before capturing the second 6-2 to win the tournament and be crowned the ITA Regional Champions in doubles and represent the Central Region in the ITA National Tournament in South Carolina.

Lopez and Coyos led the Seward charge at the tournament, going a combined 9-1, with their only loss coming in their head to head matchup. Naomie Bukassa and Jackie Arnold also competed at the tournament for the Lady Saints but went winless to give Seward a 9-4 record in the tournament.

Lopez and Coyos will now don the green and white for the Lady Saints at the ITA National Championships in Sumter, South Carolina on October 9th through the 12th. Lopez will compete in both the singles and doubles brackets while Coyos will team up with her in their quest for a doubles title.


Roy Allen

There will be a new doubles champion at the ITA National Tournament this season as defending champ Ronzai Saurombe was knocked out with partner Felipe Casares in the tournament finals at the ITA Regional Tournament this weekend in Oklahoma City. Saurombe reached the finals in both the singles and doubles brackets of the national qualifier, but fell to competitors from Seminole State in both matches as the Trojans swept the titles at the tournament.

The Saints sent four players to the court in the single bracket single elimination tournament. At the end of the first round however, only two Saints remained as Ronzai Saurombe defeated Cowley’s McCann Bell easily by a count of 6-1, 6-0 and Felipe Casares got by Seminole’s Kennan Dishman 6-3, 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. Cowley’s 3rd seeded Juan Bermudez was too much for Casares in the round of eight, eliminating him from the tournament with a 6-2, 7-6 decision. Saurombe on the other hand cruised once again, hammering Tim Fischer of Cowley 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the semis. In the semifinals it was a matchup of 2nd seeded Saurombe against 3rd seeded Bermudez and the match played to seed as Saurombe blasted Cowley’s top dog 6-1 in the first set before squeaking out a 7-5 win in the second to make the finals. In the finals Saurombe faced a tall task, both figuratively and literally, as he went up against 6’4 Guy Iradukunda of Seminole State. The powerful Iradukunda was just too much for the Saints 5’5 Saurombe, knocking of Seward’s top man 6-2, 6-3 to, for now at least, stand in the way of Saurombe and a trip to the ITA National Tournament in South Carolina.

In the doubles draw, two more Saints, Des’mne Curtis and Xavier Ramirez had the misfortune of having to take on Iradukunda and Dishman and the pair didn’t fare any better than Saurombe as they fell 6-0, 6-1 in a swift match to end their tournament. Saurombe and Casares teamed up on the other side of the bracket and won a 6-2, 6-4 decision against Balderamma/Bermudez of Cowley in the quarterfinals to make their way to the round of four. In the semis, it was another Seward vs. Cowley battle as Saurombe and Casares went up against Bell/Reynda for the Tigers. Saurombe and Casares once again painted the Tigers green and white, downing the Cowley duo 6-2, 7-6 to reach the championship match. In an interesting development on the opposite side of the bracket, Seminole State’s #2 pair of Clerihew/Sioux actually defeated their #1 team of Iradukunda/Dishman and therefore it was Saurombe/Casares against Clerihew/Sioux in the finals. The Saints got off to a hot start, winning the first set 6-3 and the second set was tied 2-2 before Seminole stormed back to take the final four games to win 6-2 and knot the match at 1-1. In the third the Trojans kept their momentum rolling, downing Seward’s top pair 6-2 to claim the title and leave the Saints just one set short of a bid to the National Tournament.

The Saints finished the tournament 6-6 as a team and move to 36-35 as a team on the fall.

Seward’s chances of a return trip to defend their 2013 National Championship is not completely gone yet as Tuesday the Saints will find out if they will receive an at-large bid to the tournament, just as they did last season before winning the title.


Roy Allen


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