BYU women’s tennis 2018-19 season review
PROVO, Utah – The BYU women’s tennis team ended the 2018-19 season with an 11-11, 4-5 West Coast Conference record and a sixth-place finish in league play.
“My first season as head coach was definitely not a walk in the park,” BYU head coach Holly Parkinson Hasler said. “However, I could not be happier with how it turned out. This was a season of change and growth; every time we stepped on the court and everything we did as a team had a purpose. We united as a team, and we learned to push beyond our limits. These are important first steps for building a championship program, and I could not be more excited for the future of BYU women’s tennis.”
The 2018-19 season was Hasler’s first as a head coach, and Dillon Porter’s first season as an assistant coach. To begin the year, Hasler and Porter led the Cougars into three preseason tournaments including the Cal Fall Invitational, the ITA Regional Championships and the CSUN Invitational. The team also competed at the Metroplex Mania tournament in January as a precursor to regular season play.
At the Cal Fall Invitational, Madeline Almeida advanced to the semifinals of the ITA Gold Singles bracket while duo Taylah Beckman and Samantha Smith moved on to the finals of the ITA Blue Doubles bracket. At the ITA Regional Championships, Anastasia Abramyan reached the Round of 32 in singles to make it the furthest of any BYU singles player in the tournament.
BYU also claimed 11 wins in dual match play, including notable victories over UNLV, Utah State and Gonzaga. After falling in doubles, the Cougars came back to claim a challenging 4-3 victory over UNLV with Beckman clinching the match at the No. 6 slot. In an in-state foe battle against Utah State, BYU took a commanding 6-1 victory winning the doubles point as well as five singles victories by Abramyan, Madeline Almeida, Katie Fitt, Polina Malykh and Smith.
Lastly, in their biggest upset of the season, the Cougars downed Gonzaga in a 4-2 victory. Chosen to finish third in the WCC preseason poll, the Zags fell at the hands of Malykh, Almeida, Smith, Beckman and Fitt in singles and doubles matches.
Notable Preseason Achievements
Five returning Cougars from the 2017-18 season came into the year with WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll recognition for their academic performances in the 2017-18 school year. Malykh received Gold Honors (4.00-3.75) while Beckman, Almeida, Cusick and Smith received Bronze Honors (3.49-3.00).
The following individuals competed in the six singles slots for the majority of the season:
- Kate Cusick
- Anastasia Abramyan
- Polina Malykh
- Madeline Almeida
- Madeline Almeida and Taylah Beckman
- Samantha Smith
Competing in No. 3 singles, Malykh led the team with most singles victories, holding a 15-3 dual match record. She went on a 14-0 streak, winning valuable matches against teams such as No. 15 Washington, Utah State, Utah, San Francisco and Pacific. Malykh’s success on the court led to her receiving All-WCC Singles honorable mention honors at the end of the season.
Almeida also maintained an impressive record in singles; she held an 11-6, 3-2 standing. Almeida went on a 7-0 run in the middle of the season with three of her victories coming from an outstanding performance at the Metroplex Mania tournament.
The following individuals competed in the three doubles slots for the majority of the season:
- Anastasia Abramyan and Kate Cusick
- Madeline Almeida and Polina Malykh
- Taylah Beckman and Samantha Smith
At the No. 3 doubles slot, senior Taylah Beckman and junior Samantha Smith claimed the most victories of any doubles team with a 12-7, 4-4 record. Notably, in their match against the University of Utah, Beckman and Smith defeated No. 49 ranked Brianna Chisholm and Madison Tattini to clinch the doubles point for the Cougars.
At the No. 2 position, Polina Malykh and Madeline Almeida held an 11-5, 4-2 record. Their most notable achievement was winning WCC Doubles Team of the Week honors from February 3-9. They also achieved a mid-season 6-0 winning streak.
To end the season, Malykh, Beckman and Almeida received WCC All-Academic accolades. Malykh received WCC All-Academic Honors while Beckman and Almeida received WCC All-Academic honorable mention.
With Hasler entering her second season as a head coach in 2019-20, the Cougars look to improve their performance and build on the foundation and success created in the 2018-19 season.