ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The University of New Mexico women’s tennis team snapped its four-match losing streak with a 5-2 upset over the 54th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes Friday evening. This win marks UNM’s first victory against a ranked opponent this season.
This victory has been long awaited by the young Lobo team. UNM battled four tough ITA ranked teams in the last two weeks and let two different upsets slip through their fingers in tightly-contested matches.
The disappointment from the recent losses may just have been the perfect motivation for the Lobos as they dominated the Buffaloes at the Linda Estes Tennis Complex.
UNM came out of the starting gate with intensity and enthusiasm as they battled for the doubles point. No. 1 doubles team Misa Bezdickova and Lizette Blankers claimed an easy 8-4 win to get the momentum going for the Lobos. After Emily Olivier and Dominique Dulski fell in a close 8-6 match in the No. 3 spot, it all came down to court No. 2.
Natasha Smith and Meredith Hopson rallied from a 6-3 deficit to put the score at 7-7 and take the match into a tiebreaker. UNM earned a quick 3-0 lead, but the Buffaloes wouldn’t go away that easily. The two opponents battled it out until the end, but Smith and Hopson managed to pull ahead and clinch the victory to give the Lobos the first point of the match.
Singles play got off to a rough start as Bezdickova and Blankers both picked up losses, giving CU a 2-1 lead.
Bhat, who was competing for only the fourth time this season, answered with a win for the Lobos in the No. 6 spot to even up the boards.
Dulski defeated Carla Manzi Tenorio, 6-3, 6-1, to put UNM ahead and Hopson finished the job for the Lobos with a big win in the No. 3 position. After three long sets between Hopson and CU’s Winde Janssens, UNM clinched the match and pulled off the upset.
Smith put the icing on the cake for the Lobos as she wrapped up the match with a win in the No. 4 position and put the final score at 5-2.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our team tonight,” head coach Erica Jasper said. “It was definitely a total team win. After losing a few tough ones in a row, it was great to see everyone pull together as a group, and we probably played our best match so far this season.”
After going 0-5 against ranked opponents last season, Friday’s win marks Jasper’s first victory against a ranked team since becoming head coach of the women’s tennis team.
The Lobos hit the court again on Saturday to take on the Ball State Cardinals at 3 p.m. MT at Linda Estes.
“Unfortunately, we don’t really get to enjoy tonight’s win for too long as we have another very tough match tomorrow against Ball State,” Jasper said. “Instead we’ve got to focus on finding a way to be a little better and a little more disciplined tomorrow as we continue to try to build and improve.”
Results: UNM def. CU, 5-2
1) Bezdikova/Blankers (UNM) def. Janssens/Ormeno (CU), 8-4
2) Hopson/Smith (UNM) def. Manzi/Aiello (CU), 8-7 (7)
3) Tiefel/Steur (CU) def. Dulski/Olivier (UNM), 8-6
Order of Finish: (1, 3, 2)
1) Steur (CU) def. Bezdickova (UNM), 6-2, 6-4
2) Aiello (CU) def. Blankers (UNM), 6-3, 6-1
3) Hopson (UNM) def. Janssens (CU), 6-3, 7-6 (4)
4) Smith (UNM) def. Ormeno (CU), 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
5) Dulski (UNM) def. Manzi (CU), 6-3, 6-1
6) Bhat (UNM) def. Quevedo (CU), 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish: (2, 1, 6, 5, 3, 4)