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Kaissi Wins at No. 1 Singles in 8-1 Loss to (RV) Graceland

Stars shake off rust, improve against second straight opponent receiving votes in NAIA Top 25 poll

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Senior standout Dina Kaissi registered her first win of the 2014 season at No. 1 singles, highlighting Friday's tennis match between Stephens College and (RV) Graceland University. Kaissi's victory represented the team's lone win as the Stars fell to the Yellowjackets, 8-1, in the early morning duel.

"Today was really exciting," head tennis coach Lexie Payne said. "We played much better and looked like a completely different team. As always, the first match is a little rusty, but this morning they looked like the team I've seen play in the past. Hopefully they'll carry that higher level of play with them into the next two matches."

The Stars will be back in action later this evening with a match against Central Christian College in Salina, Kan.

In doubles play, GU's Jessica Working and Zahra El Otmany outlasted the Stars' No. 1 duo of Kaissi and freshman Courtney Huels, 8-4. At the No. 2 doubles spot, the Stephens' team of Chelsea Cross and freshman Gracie Strawn gave the Yellowjackets all they could handle in an 8-5 decision. With a deep lineup, Graceland captured the No. 3 doubles in straight sets against returners Dani Kelley and Emily Mendoza.

In singles competition, Kaissi came out firing on all cylinders and earned a sweep in set No. 1. Although Graceland's Zahra El Otmany won four games in the second set, the Star senior held off a late surge to collect a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

At No. 2 and No. 3 singles, senior Chelsea Cross and newcomer Courtney Huels were both evenly matched with their Graceland competitors. Competing against GU's Jessica Working, who is ranked in the ITA-NAIA individual rankings, Cross came up short in an upset bid, falling 6-3, 6-3. No. 3 Courtney Huels took her match down to the wire with Sofia Jaramillo, but fell 6-4, 6-4.

Graceland increased its lead with a straight set win at the No. 4 position. The Yellowjackets finished out singles play with 6-4, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 wins at Nos. 5 and 6.

(RV) Graceland - 8
Stephens - 1

Springfield, Mo.

No. 1 - Dina Kaissi (SC) def. Zahra El Otmany (GU) - 6-0, 6-4
No. 2 - Jessica Worring (GU) def. Chelsea Cross (SC) - 6-3, 6-3
No. 3 - Sofia Jaramillo (GU) def. Courtney Huels (SC) - 6-4, 6-4
No. 4 - Melynda Simmons (GU) def. Gracie Strawn (SC) - 6-0, 6-0
No. 5 - Karina Cardiel (GU) def. Dani Kelley (SC) - 6-0, 6-0
No. 6 - Amy Haberthier (GU) def. Emily Mendoza (SC) - 6-0, 6-1

No. 1 - Jessica Worring/Zahra El Otmany (GU) def. Dina Kaissi/Courtney Huels (SC) - 8-4
No. 2 - Sofia Jaramillo/Karina Cardiel (GU) def. Chelsea Cross/Gracie Strawn (SC) - 8-5
No. 3 - Melynda Simmons/Amy Haberthier (GU) def. Dani Kelley/Emily Mendoza (SC) - 8-0

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Updated on April 25, 2014

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