From Waite to Lourdes, Skouroukos sets new standard

J. Patrick Eaken

Vanessa Skouroukos set a new standard for Waite tennis players, heading onto the next level to play collegiately at Lourdes University.

During the spring, Skouroukos completed her sophomore year at Lourdes, going 3-9 in doubles matches and 2-10 in singles matches.

“She was an incredible person, always helping and cheering her teammates on, and was truly a leader on court regardless of what the scores were. She is a very hard worker and it was an honor coaching her this year,” said Lourdes coach Megan Miller, who recently announced her resignation. 

Skouroukos notched her only singles win of the season at the second spot, needing a match tie-break to down Olivet’s Emily Foulk.  The Gray Wolf rallied from a set down to win 3-6, 6-4 (10-7).

In first doubles, Skouroukos and Niki Polce (New Boston Huron, Mich.) defeated Mount Vernon Nazarene’s Hannah Fugate and Emily Allison, 6-4, they downed Concordia’s (Mich.) Elle Fritcha and Tina Permualla 6-3, and the Gray Wolves also had a 6-4 win over Grace Christian’s Mikyala Reynolds and Elizabeth Simmons.

Competing in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament for the first time in program history, Lourdes saw its season come to a close with a 4-0 loss to Cornerstone in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“I am so incredibly proud of this team,” Miller said.  “Each individual player grew in so many ways from February.  I could not have asked for anything more.  They showed so much grit and all stayed out there fighting for each other, so I’m happy with how they played.”

The third-seeded Golden Eagles opened by winning the doubles point as Polce and Skouroukos fell 6-0 at the top spot. With Lourdes (1-10) defaulting at five and six, Cornerstone (9-5) needed just one singles win to clinch the match.  Cornerstone won at number two as Skouroukos fell 6-1, 6-0. 

In 2019-20, Skouroukos played in eight matches for Lourdes as a rookie, competing at second singles and first and second doubles. She earned singles wins against Ursuline and Concordia and went 2-6 in singles and 0-8 in doubles.

At Waite, Skouroukos was a four-year letter winner for the Indians and also lettered in basketball and track. 

In the fall of 2016, her senior year, Waite girls tennis finished 14-5 and rolled through the Toledo City League with a 10-0 record. As a result, coach Teddy Morse was named the USTA Northwest Ohio High School Coach of the Year. Kiara Prater and Skouroukos, a four-time league singles champion, combined to go 30-0 against league opponents. The next year Morse found out what it was like without Skouroukos, a three-time City League Player of the Year.

“I can’t replace a (player like) Vanessa. Vanessa’s a good athlete,” Morse told The Press. “She hits the ball hard and her forehand is very good. She’s tall and she’s strong. She started playing at Navarre Park and never took a lesson anywhere. She sometimes plays down to other players’ level, but she picks up her game when she plays really good players.”

The daughter of Tanya Opfer, Skouroukos is majoring in nursing. Miller said it was players like Skouroukos that made her time at Lourdes worthwhile.

“My short time here at Lourdes has truly been incredible, and it made my heart so full to watch each and every player develop and grow this year,” Miller stated.  “I am so proud of all of them. I can’t thank (Vice President for Athletics) Janet Eaton enough for an incredible experience, and for always believing and supporting me and both the men’s and women’s programs.

“I know there are big things coming for both teams in the future. Finally, I want to thank my players for always trusting the system, fighting with everything they had, and giving me an unforgettable season. It was an honor coaching them and I wish both teams the very best of luck.”

Miller took over the program in November of 2020, leading the men’s team to a 3-8 record in their inaugural season.  The women posted a 1-10 mark last season, notching the program’s first victory under her guidance. 

She had one player from each squad represent Lourdes on the WHAC Champions of Character Team. A Sylvania (Northview) native, Miller played collegiately for both Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo.

“I want to thank Megan for a short but wonderful time with Lourdes Athletics,” Eaton said.  “She was a breath of fresh air as she headed our tennis programs during such difficult times.  She will be missed.  I wish her nothing but the best on her future endeavors.” (— from Lourdes Athletics press releases by Sports Information Director Ryan Wronkowicz and Press file stories by Sports Editor J. Patrick Eaken and contributing writer Mark Griffin).




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