Women's Tennis: Lobos Return Home For Matches Against Denver and No. 46 Kansas
UPCOMING - After two weeks on the road, the UNM women’s tennis team will return home to the Lobo Tennis Club to take on regional rivals Denver on Friday, Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. and Kansas on Sunday, Feb. 23 at noon. The Jayhawks of Kansas are No. 46 in the most recent I.T.A. rankings.
LAST WEEKEND: BOISE STATE & WASHINGTON STATE
No.1: Maja Kovacek came up against her stiffest spring competitors yet this past weekend in Boise, Idaho. On Feb. 14, she played BSU’s No.1 player Renate Stoop (No. 74 nationally) and beat the senior, 6-3, 7-6. On Feb. 15 she defeated Orsolya Sallai of WSU 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Kovacek is now 3-1 in spring competition
No. 2: Tjasa Suvak, like Kovacek, was also 2-0 in singles for the weekend. On Feb. 14 she beat Jemima Hayward (No. 9 regionally) of Boise State, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and the next day solidly defeated WSU’s No. 79 ranked Lorene Arias, 7-6, 6-4. The wins bring Suvak to 3-1 this spring.
No. 3: Michelle Heidbrink was defeated in both of her singles matches in Boise, Idaho. Against BSU’s No. 16 regionally ranked player, Alissa Ayling, the sophomore was beaten 7-5, 6-2. She also suffered a loss against Washington State’s Nora Gaal, 6-1, 6-0. Heidbrink is 1-3 so far this spring.
No. 4: Tiffany Robertson played two hard-fought singles matches last weekend. The sophomore lost to Erin Polowski of Boise State, 7-6, 6-2 and battled to three sets with WSU’s Nora Gaal before losing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6. She is now holds a 2-2 spring record.
No. 5: Maria Ruiz-Fabrega squared off against Anna Curtolo of Boise State in her first singles match and fell 6-3, 6-1 to the Bronco player. She was also defeated by Anna Stefanchuk of Washington State the next day by a 6-3, 6-4 score. Ruiz-Fabrega is an even 2-2 this spring.
No. 6: Rachel Hatley fought to a 7-6, 6-3 loss with Carolina Pongratz of Boise State and was able to make a comeback in the second set of her match against WSU’s Zorano Roganovic, but eventually fell 6-3, 3-6, 6-0. Hatley’s two losses this weekend bring her to 2-2 in the spring season.
No. 1: Kovacek and Suvak had an impressive 8-6 doubles win over Boise State’s Hayward and Polowski, who are ranked fifth regionally. The duo suffered only its second loss this spring to the No. 5 regionally ranked pair of Arias and Martinez of WSU, 9-7. The Lobo pair’s spring record is 2-2.
No. 2: Hatley and Ruiz-Fabrega were defeated 8-3 by BSU’s No. 7 regionally ranked pair of Stoop and Ayling. Against WSU, the duo was also defeated, but this time by a close 8-6 margin to Sallari and Roganovic.This spring the pair is 2-2.
No. 3: Robertson and Heidbrink split their matches this weekend, getting an important 9-8 win over Pongratz and Curtolo of Boise State and narrowly missed their second victory of the weekend. WSU’s Gaal and Fudor ended up beating the Lobo duo 8-5. Heidbrink and Robertson have the best UNM doubles record this spring, standing at 3-1.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS AND JAYHAWKS Denver comes to the Lobo tennis club with a 3-3 record. The Pioneers have lost 4-3 to Colorado, 4-3 to NAU and 5-2 to Minnesota. Victories have come against Air Force (6-1) and Grand Canyon (9-0), The Pioneers also beat UC Santa Barbara, 4-3.
The Pioneers were not ranked nationally last season and do not currently hold a national ranking. Freshman Jenny Trettin was the only singles player to receive regional recognition with a No. 29 fall central ranking.
Sophomore Yanick Dullens has been playing a majority of the matches for Denver at the No. 1 singles spot and is 4-2 in the position. Dullen and doubles partner Suzanna Maksovic are also 4-2 at the No. 1 doubles spot.
When the Lobos met Denver at the Colorado Invitational in October, they went 4-1 in singles against the Pioneers and 2-0 in doubles.
No. 46 Kansas is 3-1 this season in dual-match competition and has competed against two MWC teams so far this spring. The Jayhawks beat BYU, 4-3 and shut out Utah, 7-0. Against No. 15 Texas, KU was shut out at every spot and fell 7-0 to the Longhorns. The team was also successful against Southwest Missouri State, beating the Bears 4-3.
The doubles combination of Courtney and Kristen Steinbock is a force for Kansas. The sisters received a national doubles fall ranking of #60. So far this season the duo has compiled a 3-4 doubles record, suffering losses to numerous ranked teams at the No. 1 spot. Courtney Steinbock and Paige Brown have been trading off in some matches at the No. 1 and 2 spots, with Steinbock playing at No. 1 for the majority of the time.
LOBOS IN THE RANKINGS Several Lobos are listed in the Fall Central Region Rankings, including freshman Maja Kovacek who is seeded at the No. 7 spot, junior Tjasa Suvak at No. 10 and sophomore Michelle Heidbrink at No. 23. In doubles, the duo of Rachel Hatley and Maria Ruiz-Fabrega earned the highest Lobo doubles ranking at No. 9, while the pair of Maja Kovacek and Tjasa Suvak sits close behind at No. 11.
The UNM tennis team, after four matches and a 2-2 record, has been given a No. 65 national ranking this week by the I.T.A. On Jan. 29 the Lobos were listed at No. 61 in the I.T.A. rankings, which was the highest they have been during the 2002-2003 season. The squad finished off the 2002 season at No. 60 in the national polls and No. 7 in the Central Region.
MAKING A MARK IN THE MWC UNM’s Tjasa Suvak and Sandy Lukowski were honored with All-MWC singles awards at the conclusion of the 2002 season. Suvak finished the year with a 23-14 singles record while Lukowski went 19-16. The doubles team of Sandy Lukowski and Tiffany Robertson was also recognized with All-MWC honors. The duo accumlated a 13-12 record, beating several ranked pairs from the west and central regions.
2003 SCHEDULE The Lobo women's tennis team will square off against its MWC opponents towards the end of the season after several weeks of playing strictly non-conference teams. Reigning MWC title holders UNLV (#18) and second-place finisher San Diego State (#27) may offer the biggest challenge to the Lobos this year. In addition, BYU (#61) and Utah will be gunning for a top spot in the MWC.
Almost every non-conference team the Lobos face this spring is ranked nationally according to the I.T.A.’s rankings. New Mexico will meet up with South Alabama (#15), Virginia Commonwealth (#22) and Tulane (#37). The Lobos will also take to the courts to face in-state rival New Mexico State (#73) and regional foe Tulsa (#50).
LOBOS IN THE MWC