PHILADELPHIA – After finishing the 2022 season with an 11-6 record and a trip to the American Athletic Conference tournament, Temple women’s tennis saw many glimpses of greatness in 2022.
After facing an untraditional year in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Owls returned seven student-athletes to campus in August with a fall season on the horizon, a luxury that they were not as lucky to receive in 2020. In addition to their seven returners, the Cherry and White welcomed two newcomers in senior Jamie Wei and freshman Veronika Kulhava.
The Owls worked tirelessly throughout the fall season, participating in five tournaments, two of which served as the prestigious ITA Regional Tournament and Super Regional Tournament.
Despite being newcomers, Wei and Kulhava made their presence known immediately, teaming up as a doubles pair for an extremely successful tournament season. The duo represented Temple at the ITA Super Regional Tournament in Princeton, NJ, advancing to the quarterfinals before dropping to a competitive Penn pair.
After ending tournament play in late October, the Owls looked ahead to spring competition, looking to carry their momentum over. The Cherry and White kicked off the season in late January with a tough road-match against reigning Atlantic 10 Champions, VCU, who later ranked as high as No. 57 in the ITA National Poll. The Owls dropped to the Rams, 5-2.
The Owls then returned home for a three-match homestand facing off against St. Francis Brooklyn, Siena College and Monmouth, where they swept all three opponents, 7-0 to advance to 3-1 on the year.
Temple traveled down South to Florida where they faced Florida Atlantic, who later broke into the ITA Top 75 National rankings. The Owls dropped 4-0 but wasted no time bouncing back, returning to action just a day later to face Keizer, the 2020-21 runner up for the national championship. The Owls downed the Seahawks, 5-2.
The Cherry and White returned home for a match against FDU, sweeping the Knights, 4-0 before heading to Annapolis, Md. to face off against Navy. Temple played the Mids up until the last point, but ultimately dropped, 4-3 to sit at 5-3 on the year.
The Owls returned to the Greater Philadelphia Area with a tough week ahead, facing off against Delaware on Mar. 17 followed by No. 73 Penn on Mar. 18 on the road. Temple defeated Delaware, 4-3 before being edged by Penn, 4-3.
With a four game homestand ahead that would carry them into April, the Owls looked to get back into the win column. The Cherry and White just did that, defeating Fordham, Morgan State, Binghamton and Drexel to advance their record to 10-4.
With only two matches remaining, Temple took to the road to earn a 4-2 win over Villanova on Apr. 9 followed by a trip to Tulsa, Okla. for the regular season finale. The Owls dropped to No. 48 Tulsa, 6-1.
After receiving the eighth seed in the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Owls were slotted to face off against ninth-seeded South Florida. The two teams battled it out until the very last point, but the Owls fell, 4-3 to close out the season.
Despite dropping in the AAC tournament, the Owls had many historic moments throughout the season, including the extension of their five-year winning streak at the TU Pavilion. The Owls, who posted a perfect 9-0 home record, which included six sweeps, went unbeaten at the TU Pavilion once again. Under the guidance of head coach Steve Maurothe Owls have not lost a match on their outdoor home court since Apr. 15, 2017.
On an individual level, Kulhava and Yining Tian proved their dominance in singles play. Tian led the team in dual play, posting a 13-4 mark which included competition from the third, fourth and fifth positions while Kulhava trailed close behind, posting a 12-4 dual mark across the first four positions.
Their success did not stop there as Tian and Kulhava paired up in doubles play to post a 10-2 dual mark to tie for the team leaders. Evie Wei and Sena Takebe also posted ten wins as a pair, securing a 2-1 showing from the No. 1 spot and an 8-3 mark form the No. 2 spot.