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Women’s tennis player shut down in singles play

Courtney Vernon’s undefeated season came to an end Wednesday night during the first round of the NCAA Singles Tournament. The sophomore went 20-0 before entering the tournament, but fell to Stanford senior Alice Barns 7-5, 6-2.

Vernon was seeking to become the first USF women’s tennis player to advance in the tournament since Laura Garcia in 1984.

Vernon has a career record of 6-2 against ranked opponents, and until Wednesday’s match, was 4-0 this season against ranked players. Vernon played at the team’s No. 2 position. Prior to the tournament, the highest ranked opponent she defeated was No. 51 Marianna Yuferova of VCU.

“She had a terrific season and should be proud of what she accomplished,” coach Agustin Moreno said. “Tonight she played one of the best players in the country and played great during the first set.”

Barns is a three-time All-American, and is ranked No. 5 according to the Fila Collegiate Singles Rankings. The senior went 34-7 this season, while Stanford won its third straight team NCAA Championship.

Despite going unbeaten all season, Vernon was on the verge of not making the tournament because her ranking was outside of the top 64. Vernon qualified and was ranked No. 60, but because of her position, Moreno knew that she was going to have a tough draw.

Even though she didn’t advance, he feels that the experience will only drive her to a better junior season.

“The whole time out here she just watched every match and tried to soak it all in,” Moreno said. “I expect her to be tremendous and improve to become one of the top 30 players in the country.”