After leading the University of Denver to the Summit League women's tennis championship in her first year on campus, Maureen Slattery of Newport News recently added another accomplishment to a long list of them.
The 5-foot-2 slugger, who laces flat balls toward the lines with two-handed forehands and backhands, won the singles title at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Summer Circuit Mountain Regional's third-leg tournament on Denver's courts, emerging atop a field of 15 players.
She received a first-round bye, thanks to her No. 1 seeding, then defeated three opponents, handling former Mid-Atlantic Section rival Katelyn Bevard of Penn State 6-2, 6-1, edging Susan Baklini of New Mexico 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-6) and defeating Kelli Woodman of Seattle University 6-2, 6-2.
Slattery, a semifinalist in a similar ITA tournament on Mary Washington's campus in June, enjoyed a memorable start with the Pioneers. She was named the Rookie of the Year in the Mountain Region, one of eight ITA regions. She was 19-12 in singles during a season in which she ascended to Denver's No. 1 position in February and remained there, and was 15-15 in doubles.
Her play was instrumental in Denver's 4-0 home victories over South Dakota and Fort Wayne in the Summit League semifinals and championship match, respectively. That title got the Pioneers a berth in the NCAA tournament, in which they fell 4-0 to Rice.
Denver climbed as high as No. 50 in the ITA rankings, though a four-match skid knocked the Pioneers out of the top 75.
Slattery made the All-Summit League team and twice was named the conference's Player of the Week. Off the court, Slattery was one of four players on her team named ITA Scholar-Athletes, which requires at least a 3.50 grade-point average on a 4-point scale.
Slattery, a two-time Daily Press high school girls tennis Player of the Year, was the state Group AAA singles runner-up as a Warwick High freshman. She then transferred to Hampton Roads Academy and led the Navigators to a pair of Virginia Independent Schools Division II titles, though there was no individual tournament crown for her to grab.
She was named the Player of the Year in VIS Division II and the Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools.
When she signed with Denver, the Tennis Recruiting Network listed her as the No. 54 player in the national class of 2013 and the second-best senior in the state. Upon picking the Pioneers over Virginia Tech, Princeton, Brown, the College of Charleston, Rutgers, Penn and Dartmouth, she said she was hoping to become Denver's first women's tennis All-American.
Based on the initial returns, it's clear she realistically will have that opportunity.
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