Sophomore Hamsa Javagal and senior Junmoke James congratulate their opponents after a doubles match. James is one of four Lehigh women's tennis players competing at the ITA Regional Championships this weekend. (Alli Kimmel/B&W Staff)

Select women’s tennis players to compete in ITA Regionals


A select group of players from the Lehigh women’s tennis team will travel to Princeton, New Jersey, this weekend to compete in the ITA Regional Championships.

The doubles and singles teams will match up against top schools like Princeton, Rutgers, UPenn, Army, Temple and Columbia. 

Lehigh coach Olivia Leavitt said the team is seasoned when it comes to competition and she hopes they can perform at their peak level.

The ITA Regional Championships is one of the biggest individual tournaments of the year aside from the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments, so Leavitt said it is an honor for Lehigh to be chosen.

Every school is guaranteed two singles players and two doubles teams. The four players chosen for Lehigh are freshman Avery Hopkey, juniors Megha and Anushka Dania and senior Junmoke James. 

“Appreciating the opportunity and the moment to play against some of the best competition in the region is always an amazing experience,” Leavitt said. “So really taking advantage of it and going out there and playing fearless, playing to represent Lehigh and our team well and to just trust the process.”

In addition to relying on their training and putting in their best effort, Leavitt said she wants her team to have fun. 

Anushka Dania will be playing in the doubles match with her twin sister Megha. 

“We’ve had three tournaments before this to prepare, playing doubles and singles and learning from our matches early on to make improvements for the ITAs,” Anushka Dania said. “(Hopefully) we are able to bring it into the Regional Championship and hopefully try to advance further.”

Both Leavitt and Anushka Dania said their goal for the tournament is to see where they stand as a team. They said the idea is not only to see their placement amidst higher ranked teams, but to see what they need to work on as a team for their competitive season in the spring. 

“As a team we are all trying to do our individual parts by giving 100% in practice and not only benefit ourselves, but each other,” Anushka Dania said. “We’re constantly trying to find ways to better our individual selves for the whole team.”

While only a few athletes were selected, other members of the team are still finding ways to stay involved with the regional championships, even though they are not competing. 

Freshman Helena Cilella is not playing in the tournament, but said it is a good practice to prepare the team for bigger matches later on in the season. Cilella said the rest of the team is going to stay updated on the matches and stay in touch with the players competing this weekend. 

Anushka Dania said the team’s main goal is to win the Patriot League Championship, and this weekend’s competition serves as a starting point to see how they execute the game plan and what they can improve on. 

After the regional championships, the whole team will compete against Monmouth University on Oct. 15 at the Ulrich Varsity Courts in Bethlehem. 

“I think this year we have a really good team,” Cilella said. “It’s not so much about the result, but more about getting better, not only as a person, but as a player.”

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