Women's Tennis: Lobos Hope To Strike It Rich In Las Vegas
UPCOMING - The Lobo women’s tennis team will take part in the UNLV Invite this weekend, Feb. 28-Mar. 2, in Las Vegas, Nev. Along with the No. 57 ranked UNM squad, No. 17 UNLV, No. 44 Oklahoma, Loyola Marymount, Montana State, NAU, Cal State Northridge and Southwest Missouri State will also be participating in the tournament. The Lobos are scheduled to begin action on Friday, Feb. 28 with a 10 a.m. match against Loyola Marymount at the Fertitta Tennis Complex. Depending on the result between UNM and LMU, the Lobos will either play Oklahoma at 10 a.m. or NAU at 2 pm on March 1st.
LOBOS IN THE RANKINGS Tjasa Suvak has earned her highest career ranking this week. The junior from Belca, Slovenia is currently ranked No. 75 in the I.T.A. national collegiate tennis poll. The last time Suvak was ranked was on Dec. 8, 2002. At that time she was listed at No. 99 in the nation.
The UNM tennis squad has moved up in the I.T.A. team rankings this week after posting big wins over Denver and No. 46 Kansas last weekend. The Lobos are listed at No. 57, up from their No. 65 position last week.
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.
LAST WEEKEND VS. DENVER AND KANSAS
Singles No.1: Maja Kovacek dropped the first of her two singles matches last weekend to Denver’s Yanick Dullens, 3-6, 6-4, (10-8). She regained her winning style on Sunday, Feb. 23 when she beat Kansas’ Courtney Steinbock, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Kovacek’s spring record stands at 4-2.
No. 2: Tjasa Suvak also split her weekend matches against DU and Kansas. On Feb. 21 Suvak fell in two straight sets to Suzie Maksovic, 6-4, 6-1. Two days later, Suvak faced Kansas’ No.2 seeded player, Paige Brown, who she was able to overtake, 6-2, 6-3. Suvak also has a 4-2 spring mark.
No. 3: After this weekend’s matches, Michelle Heidbrink stands at 3-3 in spring play. She had two wins, first against DU’s Jenny Trettin, 6-2, 6-2 and then was victorious against the Jayhawks’ Emily Haylock, 7-6, 6-7, 10-4.
No. 4: Tiffany Robertson is one of four players who currently hold 4-2 spring records. She was 2-0 this weekend against the Pioneers and Jayhawks, having wins over Stephanie Ginsburg of DU, 6-1, 6-3 as well as Christine Skoda of Kansas, 6-2, 6-4.
No. 5: Maria Ruiz Fabrega played at the No. 5 spot against Denver and fell to opponent Barb Kourim, 6-4, 6-1. Rachel Hatley stepped in at the No. 5 spot vs. Kansas and got a win off against Kim Lorenz by a solid 6-1, 6-3 score. Ruiz-Fabrega has an 0-3 record at this spot, while Hatley is a perfect 3-0.
No. 6: Rachel Hatley competed at UNM’s No. 6 spot against Denver. The senior defeated DU’s Rossi Thomas, 6-3, 6-3. Maria Ruiz-Fabrega was also victorious at the No. 6 position. The sophomore beat Luiza Loureizo of Kansas in two 7-5, 7-5 sets.
Doubles No. 1: Kovacek and Suvak recorded a 1-1 doubles mark last weekend against Denver and Kansas. The duo beat Dullens and Kourim of of DU (8-2), but fell short against Steinbock and Brown of Kansas, losing 8-5. The split brings the pair to 3-3 in spring doubles.
No. 2: Hatley and Ruiz-Fabrega, like their teammates at the No. 1 spot, split last weekend's matches. The pair fell to Maksovic and Messaros of Denver, 9-8, but came up big against the Jayhawk duo of Steinbock and Skoda with a 8-5 victory. Their spring record stands at 3-3.
No. 3: Robertson and Heidbrink helped compile the best UNM doubles record of 5-1 this past weekend. The two beat Denver’s Trettin and Ginsburg, 8-3, before downing KU’s Haylock and Louriezo, 8-4.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT - LMU was previously ranked No. 67, but has fallen out of the polls. The Lions are 1-2 and have lost 5-2 to UC San Diego, 6-1 to UNLV Invite participant CSU-Northridge and have beaten UC-Irvine, 4-3. Loyola Marymount’s No. 1 player, senior Edit Pakay, has a 15-12 overall singles record, splitting time at the No. 1 and 2 spots. She was listed at No. 111 in the last I.T.A. singles rankings. Freshman Diana Vinis owns the best Lion record, 12-8, which she has accomplished at both the No. 4 and 5 singles spots.
UNLV - The 2002 MWC titleholding Runnin’ Rebels are currently the highest ranked team in the MWC with a No. 17 national ranking. UNLV is 4-1 in dual match competition, having beaten New Mexico State, Weber State, UC-Riverside and San Jose State all by 7-0 scores. The only loss the Rebels have suffered was at the hands of No. 16 Fresno State. UNLV’s No. 1 seeded player, Paulina Janus was previously ranked No. 85 in the nation, but has fallen out of the rankings. She holds a 4-1 dual singles record, losing only to No. 11 Chloe Carlotti of Fresno State.
OKLAHOMA - No. 44 Oklahoma boasts a 6-0 spring record and is 3-0 in dual competition. The Sooners blanked Wichita State and Centenary 7-0 and defeated No. 42 Tulsa, 4-3. OU has two representatives in the most recent I.T.A. polls. Singles player Anda Perianu is slated one spot above Tjasa Suvak at No. 74 while the doubles team of Perianu and Heather Saluri stands at No. 50. At the No. 1 spot, Anda Perianu is 5-1 in spring singles, suffering her only loss to Tulsa’s Alicia Pillay (No. 8). The doubles team of Perianu and Saluri is undefeated, at 6-0, so far this season.
CSU-NORTHRIDGE - The Matadors cracked into the I.T.A. rankings this week and are currently in a tie for 75th. CSU-Northridge is 5-3 in dual matches. They have beaten NAU, UC-Riverside, Pacific, CSU-Fullerton and then No. 67 ranked Loyola Marymount. Losses have come to nationally ranked Pepperdine and Long Beach State, as well as Sacramento State.
MONTANA STATE - The Bobcats are 1-3 in spring dual competition. They have lost 6-1 to Utah State, 4-3 to Idaho State and 4-3 to Montana. The lone win was against MSU-Billings, 7-0.
NAU - The Lumberjacks sit at 3-8 so far this spring. Losses have come against UNM (7-0), Sacramento State, CSU-Northridge, UC-Santa Barbara, ASU, New Mexico State, UTEP and Hampton. NAU got wins over CSU-Fullerton, Denver and San Diego.
SOUTHWEST MISSOURI STATE - The Bears are off to a shaky start this season, posting an 0-7 record. They have played almost all ranked teams in Arkansas, Tulsa, Kansas State, Kansas, Rice, Oklahoma State and Nebraska. Four of the seven losses have been close 4-3 defeats.
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 were recognized on the All-MWC doubles team. The duo accumulated 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 (#17) and second-place finisher San Diego State (#29) may offer the biggest challenge to the Lobos this year. In addition, BYU 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 (#14), Virginia Commonwealth (#23) and Tulane (#35)) in the coming weeks. The Lobos will also take to the courts to face in-state rival New Mexico State and regional foes Tulsa (#52) and Texas Tech.