OKLAHOMA CITY, Ok. – It was a good weekend for Daniela Sanz. It was almost a great weekend.
The Barton Community College sophomore finished second the USTA/ITA Central Regional Championships held over the weekend in Oklahoma City. Sanz needed to win the regional to advance to the ITA Fall National Championships in South Carolina.
Sanz was one of three Cougars in the 17-player draw in singles. She was joined by Idah Longwe and Julianna Seabra. All three players started their play in the round of 16 with Sanz and Longwe both earning a win.
“Our women had a great tournament,” coach Lyle Stickney said “Dani (Sanz), Juliana (Seabra) and Idah (Longwe) all played their best tennis so far this fall.”
The three women combined to finish the singles competition with an 8-3 record for the two day tournament.
Sanz, the draw’s third seed, opened the tournament with an easy win over Bruna Chaves of Cowley College. Sanz won the match 6-1, 6-3. In the quarterfinals the Brazilian took care of Zahra Finnegan of Seminole State in a 3-hour marathon, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
In Saturday’s semifinal match Sanz had an easier time of it, rolling to a 6-1, 6-3 win over Seminole’s Miranda Rodriguez Diaz de Leon. Diaz de Leon was the draw’s second seed.
In the finals Sanz hooked up with yet another Seminole State player in the top seeded Luisa Varon. Baron prevailed after a close first set, 7-5, 6-4.
“Dani was a bit worn down going into the final,” Stickney said. “She had gutted-out a three hour marathon match on Friday and also played the singles semi and a doubles match prior to the championship match. Her final was plagued with uncharacteristic double faults and unforced errors.”
Longwe won her first match in the round of 16, defeating Taylor Factor of Seminole, 6-2, 6-2. In the quarterfinals she ran up against the top seeded Varon and was beaten, 6-1, 6-0 to end her draw.
Seabra lost in the round of 16 to the second seeded Diaz de Leon in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0 then came back to win the consolation draw. Seabra had to win three matches in the consolation draw, which she did in straight sets each time. She won the consolation finals by a 6-3, 6-0 score over Kasey Coker of Cowley.
“Juliana did a terrific job, too,” coach Stickney said. “After losing to the No. 2 seed she regrouped and easily won the consolation bracket.”
“The talent in the 16 player field at the ITA tournament was very deep,” he said. “That coupled with a brutal draw, Juliana faced the No. 2 seed in her first round and Idah faced the No. 1 seed in the second round, put us squarely behind the 8 ball. But, to their credit, the ladies took the courts and battled fiercely.”
Sanz and Seabra teamed up in doubles winning the quarterfinals then lost in the semifinals to the top seed. The duo defeated Sydney Brummett and Kailey Hamilton of Seminole, 6-1, 7-5 then fell to Seminole’s Varon and Diaz de Leon duo and eventual champion, 6-0, 6-2.