RICHMOND, Va. – After Mother Nature forced the Virginia Commonwealth University women's tennis team to go two weeks without a match, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Rams come out a little rusty.

When the Black & Gold took to the courts against #27 Florida International on Friday morning, it was the exact opposite as the Rams cruised to a 6-1 throttling of the Golden Panthers at Thalhimer Tennis Center.

"I'm really proud of the way our girls played today," Head Coach Paul Kostin said. "I think this was the best we've played this year, which is always a good thing."

The upperclassmen duo of Laura Burns (Hertford, England) (right) and Kateryna Yergina (Kiev, Ukraine) got the match going on the right foot with an 8-2 win in doubles, followed by an 8-6 win by sophomore Alex Bara (Oradea, Romania) and senior Olena Leonchuk (Kiev, Ukraine) to earn the doubles point for the Rams.

The momentum carried into singles competition with four of the six players picking up straight set victories. In her first match this season at #1 singles, sophomore Ana Bara (Oradea, Romania) (above) dropped previously unbeaten Liset Brito, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Leonchuk was stellar once again at the back end of the lineup with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Priscilla Castillo. The veteran is now a perfect 6-0 this spring, with all six wins coming in straight sets.

VCU returns to the courts tomorrow afternoon against the Owls of Temple University. First serve is set for 1 p.m. at Thalhimer Tennis Center.

#36 VCU def. #27 Florida International, 6-1

1. Liset Brito/Priscilla Castillo (FIU) def. Ana Bara/Hjertquist, 8-2
2. Burns/Yergina def. Maria Dolores Pazo/Christine Seredni (FIU), 8-2
3. Alex Bara/Leonchuk def. Maria Jose Vallasiani/Maria Spenceley (FIU), 8-6
Order of finish: 2,1,3

1. Ana Bara def. Liset Brito (FIU), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
2. Christine Seredni (FIU) def. Kateryna Yergina, 5-7, inj. - retired
3. Josefin Hjertquist def. Maria Spenceley (FIU), 6-2, 6-2
4. Alex Bara def. Maria Dolores Pazo (FIU), 6-0, 6-1
5. Olena Leonchuk def. Priscilla Castillo (FIU), 6-2, 6-0
6. Laura Burns def. Maria Jose Vallasciani (FIU), 6-1, 6-0
Order of finish: 4,5,3,2,6,1

February 13, 2010 RAMS ROLL PAST TEMPLE, 7-0