ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Despite wins in two of three singles contests, the Lobos dropped to the No. 20 Oklahoma Sooners on Friday evening on a tight 5-2 setback.
The stands were packed and energy was high at the Linda Estes Tennis Complex as the two opponents duked it out in a four-hour contest. The University of New Mexico put up a strong effort against the top-20 OU team, but couldn’t pull off the upset.
UNM dropped the doubles point to the Sooners after a highly contested match. Bezdickova and Blankers dropped early to the No. 31 ranked doubles team Whitney Ritchie and Mia Lancaster. No. 1 team Natasha Smith and Dominique Dulski and No. 3 team Meredith Hopson and Susan Baklini battled in their matches. The two remaining Lobo doubles teams held on through six points before OU clinched the point with an 8-6 victory in the No. 3 spot.
“Obviously the team is really disappointed,” head coach Erica Jasper said. “We competed very well and point for point with a very good Oklahoma team. As a coach, I couldn’t be prouder of the effort we put forth. Sometimes when you lay it all out there, you come up short and that hurts. But at the end of the day, this match will make us a better team.”
The Lobos went 2-for-6 in singles action. Freshmen Emily Olivier and Dulski claimed their first singles wins against a ranked team after defeating their opponents in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. Hopson and Bezdickova lost in close two-set matches in the No. 2 and No. 4 spots.
The score was sitting at 3-2 as Blankers and Smith continued to battle in their matches. Pulling off a win against a top-20 team wasn’t completely out of reach for the young Lobo squad.
Blankers rallied after being down 4-1, but still couldn’t come close enough. Hermon Brhane defeated Blankers, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to claim match point for the Sooners. Smith fell in the third set of her match, 8-6, leaving the final score at 5-2.
The Lobos are now 6-3 on the season.
UNM next faces off against Utah on Sunday at 11 a.m. MT.
"We'll have another exceptionally tough match on Sunday, so it will be important to take care of our bodies tonight and tomorrow so we can be fresh and ready to go for Utah," Jasper said.
OU def. UNM, 5-2
1) Brhane (OU) def. Blankers (UNM), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
2) Ritchie (OU) def. Bezdickova (UNM), 7-6, 6-4
3) Chumney (OU) def. Smith (UNM), 7-5, 5-7, 8-6
4) Lancaster (OU) def. Hopson (UNM), 6-4, 6-3
5) Dulski (UNM) def. Devine (OU), 3-6, 6-3, 7-6
6) Olivier (UNM) def. Melrose (OU), 6-3, 7-6
1) Dulski/Smith (UNM) & Devine/Chumney (OU) -- UNFINISHED
2) Ritchie/Lancaster (OU) def. Bezdickova/Blankers (UNM), 8-2
3) Engbroks/Brhane (OU) def. Baklini/Hopson (UNM), 8-6
Order of Finish:
Doubles (2,3,1) Singles (4, 6, 2, 5, 1, 3)