The Florida A&M Lady Rattler tennis team traveled to Athens, Ga. to take on teams from across the south in the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional Tennis Championships over the weekend.
Other notable universities from Florida at the tournament included Florida State, Florida, Florida International, Central Florida, South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Prior to leaving for the tournament Friday, head coach Nikki Goldthreate spoke of the importance of these warm-up tournaments before the team faces Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents in the spring. After a long summer, Goldthreate believes the team is working well toward becoming prepared for conference play.
“I think it’s excellent,” Goldthreate said. “I mean, we get all those cobwebs from the summer out. We’re getting our conditioning up with our agility and strength/conditioning coach. We’re getting more consistent and playing together.”
Sophomore Alexis Brown was forced to sit out the tournament and a few pre-season practices due to a knee injury. The Minnesota native was well aware of the tough opponents that awaited her teammates.
“It’s the toughest tournament because this is where we see the highest ranked players,” Brown siad. “These are the players who play individually, and in the NCAA tournament. Junior Latreece Olagbegi and Sophomore Britney Dean were the two players to travel to Athens this weekend.
Olagbegi fell to Georgia Tech’s Jillian O’Neill in singles play 6-1, 6-3. The junior from Hampton, Ga., was also defeated by Georgia Southern’s Ali Beavers, who came back from a first-set loss to beat Olagbegi 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
The doubles combination of Olagbegi and Dean defeated Florida International’s team of Holt and Maisak 8-2 in their first round match up. In the second round, Miami’s Mejia and Rizzolo defeated the FAMU doubles team 8-1.
The Lady Rattlers’ next scheduled event is a trip to Orlando to take on the University of Central Florida Golden Knights on January 22.
UCF players found success in the first round of singles play at the regional tournament, but were stifled in the second day of competition in the consolation bracket.