3 Bulldogs win on opening day at NJCAAs

Published 1:07 pm Monday, May 9, 2022

Three Mississippi Gulf Coast players won singles matches on Day 1 Saturday of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championships in Tucson, Ariz.


Kasey Kent (So., Ridgeland/Ridgeland), Hayden Hensarling (Fr., Ocean Springs/Ocean Springs) and Bayley Askin (Fr., St. Martin/St. Martin) stay in the main draw of their brackets at the sunbaked Reffkin Tennis Center.

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“I think the cool thing was 1 through 6 singles and 1 through 3 doubles, we all competed real hard and didn’t get beat up on in any match,” Gulf Coast coach Sam Blackburn said. “We were in every match we played, and that was really exciting to see. I think that will help us moving forward in the consolation bracket for them. Overall, it was a pretty good day for the Bulldogs.”


The Bulldogs’ three doubles teams and the other three singles players will continue play in the consolation bracket.


For the second straight year, Kent won her opening match at No. 2 singles. She dominated Sauk Valley’s Saryn Seeley, winning 6-0, 6-1 as temperatures reached the 100-degree neighborhood.


“She was definitely stronger than her opponent from the beginning and just played really strong tennis,” Blackburn said. “She got on and off the court really fast, which is great to conserve energy”


Hensarling won at No. 3 singles against Tamara Velasquez from Iowa Central, who Blackburn said was a solid player.


“She won 6-4, 6-4,” Blackburn said. “She had to dig deep, but she was fitter than her opponent and broke her down. At the end, she was just the better player.”


Askin had a dominant performance of her own, beating Iowa State’s Tricia Veldhuizen 6-0, 6-2.


“She looked rock solid from start to finish,” Blackburn said. “She won pretty handily. She battled a little nerves playing in the national tournament for the first time, but calmed down and played super solid. She makes balls and doesn’t give her opponent anything.”


Gulf Coast, which matched last year’s first-day performance with three wins, nearly got two other victories.


Tanyaradzwa Kaome (Fr., Harare, Zimbabwe/The Heritage School) lost a tight three-set match against Lewis & Clark’s Sofija Djunisijevic, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. Hensarling and Garman nearly picked up their second win at No. 3 doubles, falling 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7) to USC Sumter’s Carolina Segura and Alexandra Romero.


NJCAA Division I Women’s Tennis Championship

Reffkin Tennis Center, Tucson, Ariz.

May 7-11 (All times CT)

Saturday results


No. 1: Noelani Lui-Natalie Esparza (Paradise Valley) def. Tanyaradzwa Kaome-Kasey Kent (GC), 6-1, 6-3

No. 2: Carolina Segura-Alexandra Romero (USC Sumter) def. Hayden Hensarling-Abigail Garman (GC), 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7)

No. 3: Jacie Roth-Malena Hernandez (Barton) def. Bayley Askin-Ashleigh Chelette (GC), 6-1, 6-4


No. 1: Sofija Djunisijevic (Lewis & Clark) def. Tanyaradzwa Kaome (GC), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3

No. 2: Kasey Kent (GC) def. Saryn Seeley (Sauk Valley), 6-0, 6-1

No. 3: Hayden Hensarling (GC) def. Tamara Velasquez (Iowa Central), 6-4, 6-4

No. 4: Bayley Askin (GC) def. Tricia Veldhuizen (Iowa Central), 6-0, 6-2

No. 5: Emily Anne Beasley (USC Sumter) def. Abigail Garman (GC), 6-4, 7-5

No. 6: Lilia Jerry (Abraham Baldwin) def. Ashleigh Chelette (GC), 6-0, 6-2

Sunday schedule

Championship Draw


No. 2: Kasey Kent (GC) vs. (1) Destinee Martins (Tyler), 9:30 a.m.

No. 3: Hayden Hensarling (GC) vs. (2) Kelly Arends (Tyler), noon

No. 4: Bayley Askin (GC) vs. (8) Ellie Black (Abraham Baldwin), noon

Monday schedule

Consolation Draw


No. 1: Tanyaradzwa Kaome (GC) vs. TBD


No. 1: Tanyaradzwa Kaome-Kasey Kent (GC) vs. TBD

No. 2: Hayden Hensarling-Abigail Garman (GC) vs. TBD

No. 3: Bayley Askin-Ashleigh Chelette (GC) vs. TBD

No. 5: Abigail Garman (GC) vs. TBD

No. 6: Ashleigh Chelette (GC) vs. TBD


For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.