Kalamazoo, Mich., Sept. 22, 2014 – Washington University in St. Louis sophomore Rebecca Ho won seven matches en route to claiming the singles championship at the 2014 USTA/ITA Central Region Championships hosted by Kalamazoo College Friday-Monday, Sept. 19-22.
By winning the Regional title, Ho advances to the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships to be held Oct. 9-12 at the Palmetto Tennis Center in Sumter, S.C. Ho is the first Washington U. women's tennis player to advance to the National Small College Championships in head coach Kelly Stahlhuth's 10-year tenure.
As the No. 3-seed in the 128-person singles draw, Ho won her first five matches in straight sets, before defeating Nithya Kanagasegar of Case Western Reserve University 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals. She capped the weekend with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Ariana Iranpour of the University of Chicago in the championship match Monday. Against Iranpour, Ho trailed 5-2 in the first set and fought off a set point while rallying for the 7-5 win. She won the first three games in the second set, but Iranpour made it 3-2 before Ho won the final three games to finish the match.
"The weekend was really intense and fun. It was a lot of tennis and everyone on our team played really well," Ho said. "I'm really proud of the team as a whole. Personally, I just tried to go out and give it my all in every match. I just went into every match with the mentality of trying to do my best and knowing that the results would take care of themselves."
In addition to Ho, the Bears had two other individuals advance to the singles quarterfinals – freshman Grace Deering and junior Jamie Silverberg. Silverberg lost 4-6, 2-6 to Iranpour, while Deering fell 0-6, 3-6 to Jasmine Lee of Chicago. Ho and Silverberg, the No. 3 seed in the 64-team doubles draw, advanced to the quarterfinal round before falling to the eventual champion duo of Iranpour and Megan Tang from Chicago. Overall, Washington U. posted 33 wins on the weekend.
"As a whole, it was a phenomenal weekend," said head coach Kelly Stahlhuth. "We had a lot of positive results in both singles and doubles. Everyone supported each other really well and we had a lot of great matches."
The USTA/ITA National Small College Championships, which Ho qualified for by winning the regional singles title, are comprised of the eight regional champions (and/or at-large selections) for both singles and doubles from NCAA Divisions II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges. The singles and doubles champions at each divisional level then compete to become the overall "Super Bowl" champions. The "Super Bowl" champions earn wild cards into the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships with the opportunity to win the culminating event held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
• All nine Washington U. athletes won at least one match at the tournament.
• After finishing 11-1 on the weekend, Ho now has a career record of 51-10.
• Silverberg brought her career win total to 81.