Tyler, TX—Freshman Ksenia Vasilyev, Marion Military Institute's No. 1 player, made it to the 2019 NJCAA Women's National Tournament by virtue of her dominant performance in this year's edition of the Alabama Community College Conference women's tennis tournament. She was awarded the Region XXII MVP Award for her efforts. She continued her winning ways in the national tourney on Sunday morning at the JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center before she fell in the second round on Monday to Anastasiya Salenko, the tournament's fifth-seeded player from St. Petersburg College.
Vasilyev started off fast in Monday's match against her Harford Community College counterpart, Camila Lopez, and finished even faster, ousting Lopez from the Flight 1 Singles field with a blistering barrage of serves and ground strokes in a double-bagel drubbing, 6-0, 6-0.
According to MMI coach Charles Wright, "When Ksenia's game is on, especially her service game, she is extremely difficult to beat. Her serve dictates how well she plays throughout a particular match. Today, she was hitting her serve very well. That tremendous serving performance filtered down to her ground strokes. She threaded paralyzing shots down the line and cross court. In short, she swatted her opponent off the court. She couldn't miss a shot."
Monday's match was a completely different story, however. Vasilyev's normally dependable serve deserted her, and her blistering backhand and her haymaker of a forehand departed shortly thereafter.
Even so, the first set was still in the balance at 3-5 with Vasilyev serving. A Vasilyev hold would move the score to 4-5 and thus put pressure on Salenko's slice serve, a serve which was routinely falling short in the service box. Unfortunately, a Vasilyev hold was not in the cards or on the court. A double fault and a few unforced errors gave the first set to Salenko, who took the match in straight sets.
"On the whole, Ksenia played brilliantly all year long," Wright said. "She goes out match after match and plays fiercely. She played poorly in probably two or three matches during the entire season, and she won one of those. Once she becomes a little craftier, a little more patient, she will be practically unbeatable. She is a fantastic young woman who represents MMI very well."