Alberta Panda Tereza Simonova earned a thrilling three-set win over Western Mustang Helen He, securing the win for the Pandas in the final of the 2019 Tennis Canada University Championships, as the Pandas captured their third national title in program history.
The national title is the second for the Pandas in three years, after they also won in 2017. The Pandas finished their 2018/19 varsity season with an undefeated 6-0 record in competition.
It also marks the 26th straight season
the University of Alberta has captured at least one national championship.
"I think one of the biggest things for us is how tight we are as a team. Teamwork was one of the biggest factors in winning this weekend," said Simonova, who was named the Player of the Year following their win over Western. "We also really knew how to play to each others strengths."
Alberta got off to a quick start by winning the doubles point with an 8-2 victory on court #1 and an 8-0 win on court #2. Alina Jurca gave Alberta a 2-0 lead with 6-1, 6-0 win over Maddy Benn at #5 singles. Katie Johnson added to Alberta’s lead with a 6-2, 6-1 win at #3 singles over Angela Chen.
Simonova won the first set 6-2 over He, before dropping the second 6-4. The first-year Panda jumped ahead 5-1 in the third, before capturing the set 6-3, and clinching the championship for the Pandas.
"This team has grown so much in so many aspects throughout the year," said Pandas coach, and Women's Team Coach of the Year Ivan Quintero. "The players have matured so much, and have improved their tactical and mental play tremendously, and that was key for us this weekend."
On the men's side, the Golden Bears earned a fifth-straight national medal, as they defeated the Memorial Sea-Hawks 6-1 in the bronze medal match. The Bears swept all three doubles matches, before Kiran Phaterpekar, Jeff James, Daniel Henschel, Connor Khademazad and Jared Maclean won in singles play.
- Women's Team Coach of the Year: Ivan Quintero, University of Alberta
- Men's Team Coach of the Year: Andrzej Zaleski, University of Montreal
- Women's Player of the Year: Tereza Simonova, Alberta Pandas
- Men's Player of the Year: Solal Dia, Montreal Carabins