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Women’s Tennis: TCU wins inaugural NIT Championship

Jade Otway wins the MVP honor for the Horned Frogs.


TCU Tennis!! Champions once again!!

Sure — we aren’t talking about the TCU Men’s Tennis team, which may simply be a dynasty at this point, nor are we talking about NCAA championships.

But — a trophy is a trophy. TCU Women’s Tennis won the NIT Tennis Championship on Saturday, May 20, with a 4-0 sweep over a 20-9 Stetson. It was tennis’ inaugural NIT Tennis Championship; the Frogs became the first-ever NIT champions with the win.

The Horned Frogs, who finished the season with a 16-9 record, arguably played its best tennis of the season during the tournament at the Peachtree Tennis Center in Peachtree City, Georgia. Dismantling the UC-San Diego Tritons in Wednesday’s first round action at the NIT Championship, the Frogs started off the tournament strong, with a quick sweep, punching their ticket to the semis.

The Frogs (14-9) were led by sophomore, and tournament MVP, Jade Otway in the first round, and in the whole tournament really, who earned herself an easy win in the early morning match. With Otway leading the way, TCU took control against UC San Diego (10-13) early and never wavered. Head coach Lee Taylor Walker ended up mixing up the doubles lineup to keep the Tritons surprised, and Yu-Chin Tsai and Helena Narmont took the court together. The two ended up winning the first doubles match in NIT history in a dominant 6-1 win.

Mercedes Aristegui and Otway then followed with an impressive 6-3 win. And in singles, Otway continued the Frog domination losing only one game in her straight set victory. She collected a (6-0, 6-1) win to put the Frogs up two. Then, Tiphanie Lamaitre won her match in similar fashion, losing just two games in her (6-1, 6-1) win. The Frogs then completed their sweep with the Destinee Martins’ win, (6-4, 6-2).

After the dominant first round win, the Frogs met Wyoming in the semifinals, where after a slow start, the Frogs rallied to move onto the finals. Martins and Lemaitre failed to find a rhythm in their match, dropping the first doubles match 6-3. But — Aristegui and Otway put the doubles point up for grabs with a 6-1 duos victory in their match.

Then, in the final third doubles match, Helena Narmont and Yu-Chin Tsai fought to a tiebreaker, finding themselves tied at seven. Unfortunately, the two failed to capitalize on serve and fell behind 1-0. Yet, despite trailing after doubles, the Frogs rallied and sent Wyoming home.

Otway continued her MVP form, beating Wyoming’s Noesjka Brink with ease, (6-1, 6-2), evening the team score. And then the Frogs’ captain Aristegui added some momentum a straight set victory over the Cowboys’ Maria Oeshkina (6-3, 6-1), as our French senior, Lemaitre, took a 3-1 lead for the Frogs. Lemaitre took the first set with a late surge, 6-4. And in the second, she swept the Cowgirls’ Sophie Zehender 6-0.

With the match clinching point still yet to be decided, Martins, Tsai and Narmont remained in complete control of their matches, and Narmont was the first to cap off a victory (6-4, 6-1). Her win on court six punched TCU’s ticket to the finals, where they went on to compete against Stetson.

Right from the opening serve, it was clear the Horned Frogs had the upper-hand over Stetson. The Frogs took the early advantage in the doubles point, as Destinee Martins and Tiphanie Lemaitre, in only their third appearance on the court together, led a 6-3 victory. And, momentum continued with Helena Narmont and Yu-Chin Tsai securing their own 6-3 victory, notching their 10th win as a pair on the season.

At this point, with doubles victories secured, there was no stopping the Frogs. In singles play, TCU and Lemaitre, who finished the tournament 3-0 and dropped only eight games, continued tournament dominance, winning both sets against Stetson’s Alanna DiFrancesco, 6-2 and 6-0. Then, Jade Otway, who also finished the tournament 3-0 in singles, beat Stetson’s Cheri Darley in two sets, 6-3 and 6-3, to push the Frogs’ lead to 3-0.

With the Frogs holding the advantage on all courts, all TCU needed was one more win from Martins, and in her 14th singles match of the season, Martins won TCU the NIT Tennis Championship with a 6-2 and 6-3 win.

Not only did the Frogs walk away with an NIT Championship trophy, but Jade Otway ran away with the tournament MVP award. Otway was unbeaten in ALL THREE MATCHES, and dropped only 10 games overall the WHOLE TOURNAMENT. With two trophies in hand on the bus ride back, it was a more than successful weekend in Georgia for TCU Women’s Tennis.