Freshman Moka Ito advanced to the championship match of Flight 2 Singles at the Air Force Invitational, as the WKU tennis squad posted a collective 14-7 mark. Joined at the Air Force Academy by the host Falcons, Arizona, Arkansas State, Montana State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah and No. 37 Denver, the Lady Toppers matched Denver’s weekend combined record. Filling open bracket spots with additional student-athletes, Air Force owned the weekend’s best team showing with a 20-9 record.

Ito’s debut as a Lady Topper was a successful one as she defeated Gracia Mboko, a member of the ranked Denver squad, before falling to Elizabeth Barnickel of Air Force in the flight’s championship match. The freshman teamed up with partner sophomore Monica Malinen in Flight 1 Doubles, recording a 2-1 mark while defeating a Power 5 duo from Arizona and getting their second victory over a Northern Colorado tandem.

Individually, Malinen competed in Flight 3, winning two of her three matches, defeating opponent Southern Utah in two sets and Arkansas State in three.

Representing the Red and White in the Singles Flight 1 was graduate student Elpida Malamou. Malamou was victorious in her final two matches, defeating opposition from Arkansas State and Southern Utah in straight-set fashion. Malamou paired up with sophomore Natalia De Ugarte to compete in Flight 2 Doubles for the Lady Topper squad. The duo defeated a tandem representing Montana state 8-6. The partners completed their weekend by earning third in Flight 2 after defeating Arizona by default.

De Ugarte defeated opponent Marie Van Aelst of Arizona in three sets for third place in Singles Flight 4 by a line of 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

Competing in Flight 6 singles for WKU Tennis was senior Violetta Shatalova who finished 2-1 on the weekend, defeating representatives from Arkansas State and Northern Colorado.

The Lady Toppers will look to continue their momentum as they send representatives to the $15,000 Charleston and ITA Women’s All-American Championships in the coming weeks.

Final Results:
WKU Singles (10-5)
WKU Doubles (4-2)
WKU Total (14-7)

#1 Singles Flight
Camila Wesbrooks (Arizona) def. Elpida Malamou (WKU) 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (won third set tie breaker)
Elpida Malamou (WKU) def. Shelby King (Arkansas St.) 7-5, 6-3
Elpida Malamou (WKU) def. Daniela Cozzi (Southern Utah) 6-2, 6-1

#2 Singles Flight
Moka Ito (WKU) def. Raffaella Mora (Northern Colorado) 7-5, ret.
Moka Ito (WKU) def. Gracia Mboko (Denver) 7-5, 4-6, 6-2
Elizabeth Barnickel (Air Force) def. Moka Ito (WKU) 6-1, 2-6, 2-6

#3 Singles Flight
Meredith Laskey (Air Force) def. Monica Malinen (WKU) 6-4, 6-1
Monica Malinen (WKU) def. Mikala Lowrance (Southern Utah) 6-3, 6-1
Monica Malinen (WKU) def. Sabina Jeresic (Arkansas State) 5-7, 6-4, 6-2

#4 Singles Flight
Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) def. Shannon O’Brien (Arkansas State) 6-2, 6-1
Camille Verden-Anderson (Denver) def. Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) 6-4, 6-4
Natalia De Ugarte (WKU) def. Marie Van Aelst (Arizona) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

#6 Singles Flight
Violetta Shatalova (WKU) def. Kirsty Venter (Arkansas State) 6-1, 6-0
Ashleigh Harvey (Air Force) def. Violetta Shatalova (WKU) 7-5, 3-6, 4-6
Violetta Shatalova (WKU) def. Carrigan Blanchard (Northern Colorado) 6-1, 6-1

#1 Doubles Flight
Ito/Malinen (WKU) def. Wesbrooks/Heynemans (Arizona) 8-5
Mok/Chang (Denver) def. Ito/Malinen (WKU) 8-6
Ito/Malinen (WKU) def. Mora/Bryant-Otake (Northern Colorado) 8-3

#2 Doubles Flight
Malamou/De Ugarte (WKU) def. Philippova/Zander (Montana State) 8-6
Mboka/Verden-Anderson (Denver) def. Malamou/De Ugarte (WKU) 9-7
Malamou/De Ugarte (WKU) def. Chypyha/Van Aelst (Arizona) Default

How to follow the Lady Toppers: For complete information on WKU Tennis, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUTennis.



Dana Brown
Media Relations Assistant
WKU Athletic Communications/Media Relations