Women’s tennis gets gold at regionals

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.


NMMI Sports Press

Plano, Texas. — The Lady Bronco tennis team brought home some shiny hardware from the regional tournament in Texas last week.

Squaring off against Collin College, No. 1 singles Francisca Nyarko won the regional title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alex Gilbert; No. 2 Mikayla Lopez defeated Jayme Waytes 6-2, 6-2; and the Broncos combined at No. 1 doubles to eke out a 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10 victory over Gilbert and Lopez earning them the doubles title.

“It’s been a wonderful, great season with all the girls, and our top two girls have really done a good job,” said head coach Dan O’Connell. “We really didn’t have a chance to win the team trophy (the Broncos were 3-13 on the season), but we’re very, very strong at the top and this year, all the girls improved a lot.”

Nyarko, a sophomore from Ghana, finished at No. 3 last year in regionals, so improved on her finish, and is ranked 18 nationally. Lopez, a freshman from Saipan in the Marianas Islands, is ranked 23rd, and as a pair, the doubles squad is No. 10 in the country.

Their finishes speak for themselves, O’Connell said, but he wanted to praise the rest of his team, who mostly came to the team as beginners.

No. 3 Becsave Pacheco came to NMMI from Dexter with some tennis experience and won the “most improved award” at last week’s Bronco awards ceremony.

“She’s one of our hardest workers,” O’Connell said, explaining the freshman is taking private lessons from men’s coach Daniel Dominguez. “The other girls are more or less beginners, but they’ve improved really a great deal.”

No. 4 Jewel Ellis came to the team in 2015 with no experience but a lot of heart.

“She’s been a lot of fun for two years,” O’Connell said. “It was very hard for her to move around on the court two years ago, more than four or five steps, and if I would rotate a forehand and a backhand then a forehand she would get confused, but now she’s running around on the court like the Energizer bunny. And she has a charming personality. We’re going to miss her.”

No. 5 Katarzyna Rosikon was part of the exchange program between the tennis team and cross country squad designed to help each team field a full squad. She’s headed to a four-year school to continue running, but was a big help on the court.

“We’re going to miss her also,” the coach said of the speedy sophomore. “I enjoyed doing drills with her, where I would hit one ball as far as I could to the left; one all the way to the right. Back and forth and she ran all over the place. So I’m going to miss those girls. They hardly won any matches but they’ve done very, very well.”

Rounding out the team at the regional tournament was freshman Kathy Clouthier from Tucson.

Lorish Pulsiphene was also on the Bronco roster this season so she could complete educational requirements before graduating and heading to Henderson State University, where she’ll join former teammates Thea Minor and Lorraine Banimataku at the four-year school.

Nyarko, Lopez, Pacheco and Clouthier are headed to Clouthier’s home town for the NJCAA women’s national tournament May 7-11 at the Reffkin Tennis Center, while Ellis and Rosikon will get to wrap up their time at NMMI preparing for graduation.

None of the Lady Broncos are seeded at the tourney, but O’Connell expects Nyarko and Lopez to each win a few matches in both singles and doubles. The team will arrive back at NMMI just in time for Nyarko to join the graduation ceremonies.

“I proudly look forward to watching them graduate, then an hour or two after graduation we will get on the bus and I’ll be the bus driver to coach Danny,” O’Connell said. And I’ll be the hamburger boy. “I’ll go get the lunches and whatever coach Danny wants me to do, but I get the pleasure of watching his team at nationals.”

Region V tournament results
Team

Collin College 6, NMMI 3

Individuals
Singles
No. 1

(18) Francisca Nyarko, NMMI, def. (39) Alex Gilbert; 6-1,6-0
No. 2
(23) Mikayla Lopez, NMMI, def. Jayme Waites, CCC, 6-2, 6-2
No. 3
Hannah Rey, CCC, def. Becsave Pacheco, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4
Kylie Woody, CCC, def. Jewel Ellis, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 5
Rachel Clark, CCC, def. Katarzyna Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 6
Tiffani Holman, CCC, def. Kathy Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
No. 1

(10) Nyarko/Lopez, NMMI, def. (22) Gilbert/Bennett, CCC, 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10
No. 2
Rey/Waites, CCC, def. Pacheco/Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-1
No. 3
Kanda/Woody, CCC, def. Ellis/Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0

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