Nate Edwards, BYU Photo
Samantha Smith takes a swing. Smith won 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of play Wednesday.

Samantha Smith helped lead the BYU women’s tennis team to a great start in the first day of play at the ITA Regional. Smith defeated Montana’s Elimear Maher, 6-3, 6-0, to advance to Thursday's second-round play. Smith also played doubles with teammate Polina Malykh and beat Dominque Beauvais and Mckenna Lloyd of Weber State, 8-2.

“It was a great first day of competition,” BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. “The girls looked confident and played well. It was a good day of solid tennis.”

The Cougars saw success in the doubles draw from two other duos. Sophomore Kate Cusick and freshman Anastasia Abramyan played an excellent match against UTEP’s Maria Paula Medina and Lois Wagenvoort, winning 8-1. Freshmen Hermehr Kaur and Madeline Almeida played together for the first time and won a close match against Quinty Janssen and Eli Arnaudova of New Mexico State, 8-6. Mayci Jones and Taylah Beckman won by default and are set to begin Thursday.

In singles play, Beckman had a great start to the tournament defeating UTEP’s Alisa Morozova, 6-2, 6-0. Almeida battled Nevada’s Anastaysha Gorbacheva and came out on top, 6-2, 6-3, to advance to the next round. Cusick once again played against UTEP’s Wagenvoort and earned another first-round victory by a margin of 6-2, 6-4. Kaur had a hard-fought match against UNLV’s Smantha Li but fell 7-6, 6-2.

BYU looks to continue its great play as the tournament continues Thursday morning.