ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico women’s tennis team suffered its fourth straight loss of the season, falling to No. 70 Denver by a score of 4-3 on Tuesday evening.
It has been a tough two weeks for the Lobos as they have faced off against four ITA ranked opponents (including two top-20 teams) and unfortunately, came up short in every match. The trend continued tonight at the Linda Estes Tennis Complex as UNM dropped to the Pioneers.
The intensity started in doubles play and didn’t end until the last singles match cleared the court. No. 1 doubles team Kathryn Hughes and Sonja Radosevic defeated Michaela Bezdickova and Lizette Blankers, 8-3, to put DU on the board. Natasha Smith and Meredith Hopson won in the No. 2 spot to set the score at an even 1-1. The point came down to the No. 3 match up between Emily Olivier and Dominique Dulski and Maureen Slattery and Natalie Dunn. The Pioneers claimed the point in a tiebreaker and took the lead.
Singles play was also neck-and-neck. The Lobos won three of the six singles matches, but it wouldn’t be enough to pull of the win.
Dulski and Hopson earned two quick wins in the No. 4 and No. 5 positions and gave UNM a 2-1 edge. Unfortunately, Olivier and Smith struggled in their matches and soon enough DU was ahead once again.
The score was at 3-2 as Bezdickova and Blankers began to feel the pressure in the No. 1 and No. 2 spots. Blankers claimed a win against DU’s Caroline Schnell in a tight match.
It all came down to the contest between Bezdickova and Slattery. The two opponents duked it out through three sets before the Pioneer competitor claimed the match for her team. Bezdickova moves to 3-8 on the season.
For the second time in two weeks, the Lobos were within reach of upsetting a ranked team. It is a tough loss for the Lobos as they move to 6-5 on the season.
UNM faces two more quality opponents this week as they host Colorado on Friday and Ball State on Saturday.
Post Match Quotes from Coach Jasper:
“Today was a tough loss,” head coach Erica Jasper said. “Denver really out competed us down the stretch. I guess that is what is the most disappointing. I felt like we came into the match with the right mindset, but when it got tough on a few courts, we gave in. In match like this where teams are pretty evenly matched, that just can’t happen.”
“This is the toughest stretch of our season. We have two very good opponents on tap this weekend in Colorado and Ball State. I have a lot of confidence in this team to find a way to get just a little bit better and put ourselves in better position in these upcoming matches. Week in and week out, we’ve found a way to improve and I expect our team will again rise to the occasion despite this heartbreaking loss.”
Result: Denver def. New Mexico, 4-3
1) Hughes/Radosevic (DU) def. Bezdickova/Blankers (UNM), 8-3
2) Hopson/Smith (UNM) def. Gargenlou/Schnell (DU), 8-3
3) Slattery/Dunn (DU) def. Olivier/Dulski (UNM), 8-7
Order of Finish: (1,2,3)
1) Slattery (DU) def. Bezdickova (UNM), 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
2) Blankers (UNM) def. Schnell (DU), 6-3, 7-5
3) Radosevic (DU) def. Smith (UNM), 6-3, 6-3
4) Hopson (UNM) def. Hughes (DU), 6-1, 6-2
5) Dulski (UNM) def. Van Genechten (DU), 6-0, 6-2
6) Derbyshire (DU) def. Olivier (UNM), 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish: (5, 4, 3, 6, 2, 1)