Highlighted by a fantastic performance from sophomore Hannah Liljekvist, the Seton Hall University tennis team made great strides at the West Point Invitational tournament over the weekend.
The team earned 24 wins over the three-day event.
Head coach Greg Wyzykowski said he was pleased with his team's performance, specifically citing the improvement the women have made as the season has gone on.
"This tournament really showed the kind of potential that our team has," Wyzykowski said. "We went up against a lot of strong teams, and proved that we could compete with them. Even when we fell into the doubles back draws, we never stopped competing."
Liljekvist reached the championship match in the top singles bracket, having dropped just one set leading into the final day at West Point.
She fell to top-seeded Alexis Casati of Illinois in the final match, but led the Pirates with four impressive victories along the way.
The transfer from St. Mary's CA, who was competing in just her second tournament for Seton Hall, received high praise from her coach.
"Hannah is such a hard worker and does a lot of training on her own," Wyzykowski said. "She transferred in from a nationally ranked school, so she's already had a lot of big-time experience. She really played great over the weekend."
Junior Anna Guryanova won three matches and reached the semifinals in the fourth singles draw, while two different SHU tandems reached main draw quarter-finals in doubles competition. The duo of Guryanova and sophomore Alex Landert won four consecutive matches after slipping into the B doubles back draw.
Madison Shoemaker and Liljekvist dropped a hard-fought battle against Fordham, 8-7, but their coach called the gutsy performance against such a tough team "fantastic."
The team also had a successful day in the other doubles matches. Seniors Rocio Portela and Chole Sher teamed up to take two wins in the doubles A division.
Sher and Portela, the team's two top flight players, also contributed to the other singles wins that the team racked up in the tournament.
The B doubles team of sophomore Julia Keenan and freshman Julie Martiny would not be out-done by the senior duo and also took two wins to reach the quarterfinal round.
The Pirates will head to Fordham this weekend, which will be followed by the three-day USTA invitational in Flushing, N.Y., Oct. 10-12.
Thomas Duffy can be reached at email@example.com.