The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

SMU’s Lesniak wins consolation championship


Associate Sports Editor

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SMU women’s tennis star No. 22 Marta Lesniak claimed victory in the consolation singles at the ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships on Sunday at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Lesniak drew a tough match against California’s No. 1 Jana Juricova in the first round of the tournament and lost two straight sets (6-2, 6-2). The loss knocked Lesniak into the consolation bracket, but she never lost her composure.

Lesniak was given a No. 8 seed as she entered the first round of the consolation championship and was paired against Florida’s Olivia Janowicz. The junior swept Janowicz (6-2, 6-3) to close out her Friday matches and advance to live another day.

On Saturday morning, Lesniak faced off against another ranked opponent in Miami’s No. 14 Bianca Eichkorn in a pivotal quarterfinal match. Lesniak pulled the upset with ease and defeated Eichkorn (6-4, 6-2) in two sets.

Just three hours after the quarterfinal match’s conclusion, Lesniak was back on the court and ready to take on No. 1 seed and No. 25 ranked Reka Zsilinszka of Duke. Lesniak picked up right where she left off and won the first set 6-2, but Zsilinszka responded with a win of her own (6-3) which set up a crucial third set.

The final set saw both athletes battle back and forth, but Lesniak came out on top 7-5 and advanced to Sunday’s championship match.

Unranked Mary Ann Macfarlane of Alabama would be Lesniak’s opponent in the all important final match. Macfarlane’s bid for an upset looked possible after taking the first set 7-5. Lesniak stormed back to dramatically take the second set 7-6 and dominated the third set 6-3 to win the consolation championship.

“Marta [Lesniak] played great the entire weekend,” SMU head Coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner said. “I was really proud of the way she finished the final match after dropping the first set. This is a great conclusion to an outstanding fall season for Marta after advancing to the quarterfinal at the ITA All-America and the final at the ITA Regional.”

With the win, Lesniak improved to 18-3 on the season with a 9-2 record against ranked opponents.

Originally from Poland, Lesniak has made her presence felt at SMU. Last year she was named Conference USA Player of the Year and to the All Conference USA first team on her way to a 29-7 overall singles record.  

Late last month, Lesniak partnered with Heather Steinbauer as the No. 47 ranked doubles pair and reached the doubles title match at the ITA Regional in Waco. The SMU duo fell to Novakova/Secerbegovic of Baylor in the doubles final.

“Marta is also playing really well in singles, and it is great that she followed her quarterfinal run at the All-American with another outstanding tournament,” Meisner said.

Next up for Lesniak and the Mustangs, the dual season starts at home in the Turpin Tennis Center on Jan. 22. SMU hosts Louisiana Tech, UTSA, Prairie View A&M and UT-Pan American on opening weekend.


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