Women's Tennis: Lobos Embark On Final Regular Season Road Trip
UPCOMING - The No. 49 UNM women’s tennis team travels to Colorado Springs, Colo. this weekend for its final road swing of the regular season. The Lobos will face the last of its conference opponents in Wyoming and Colorado State. Match times are set for 9 a.m. on both Saturday, April 5 and Sunday, April 6 against the Cowgirls and Rams respectively. New Mexico hopes to go 2-0 this weekend at the Air Force Academy's tennis courts and finish out its conference slate at 5-2. The team currently holds a 3-2 MWC mark and is 11-8 overall, which is good enough for fourth place in the conference standings.
LAST WEEKEND AT HOME With three wins at home last week, the Lobos improved to 8-0 at the Lobo Tennis Club. UNM defeated Air Force 6-1, Utah 6-1 and No. 56 BYU 4-3. It was only the second time in women’s tennis program history that the Lobos have beaten the Cougars. Last year in Provo, the Lobos beat BYU by the same score.
Singles No. 1: Sandy Lukowski couldn’t find her rhythm at No. 1 last week as she fell to Laura Nigro of AFA in three sets and Ellen Svensson of Utah. Maja Kovacek was successful against BYU at this spot, defeating Liza Klempner.
No. 2: Lukowski got a big win against Dominique Reynolds of BYU on Saturday. Kovacek claimed the other two wins at the second spot over Heather Shelby of Air Force and Cassie Kasteler of Utah.
No. 3: Tjasa Suvak was almost perfect at the third spot. She beat Air Force's Kat Bushey as well as Sheri Esrock of Utah before she fell to BYU’s Olga Bulytcheva.
No. 4: Michelle Heidbrink, like Suvak, was an almost flawless 3-0. After downing Kelli O’Bryant (AFA) and the Utes’ Maria Sevensson, the sophomore dropped a match to Rebecca Pike of BYU.
No. 5: Tiffany Robertson was undefeated last week, capturing wins against Gina Black of Air Force, Rachel Alder of Utah and Tara Porter of Brigham Young.
No. 6: Maria Ruiz-Fabrega, a mainstay at the sixth spot, conceded her only loss of the three-team match-up to Hadley Macfarlane of BYU. Before that she defeated Katie Tomkie of AFA and Allison Hansen of Utah.
Doubles No. 1: The doubles team of Lukowski and Kovacek dominated over all three conference opponents at the No. 1 spot. The two beat Nigro/Black of Air Force, Hansen/Svensson of Utah and Klempner/Reynolds of BYU.
No. 2: The pair of Ruiz-Fabrega and Hatley earned one win last week at home. The two beat Alder and Kasteler of Utah, but dropped matches to the Falcons’ pair of Shelby and Bushey as well as the Cougars’ duo of Macfarlane and Porter.
No. 3: The second Lobo doubles team to go undefeated last week was the pair of Heidbrink and Robertson. The tighest game for the two was against BYU, as they beat the Cougar pair of Pike and Bulytcheva by a close 9-8 score. Against Air Force’s Nigro and O’Bryant as well as Utah’s Svensson and Doyle, the margin of victory was broader.
IN THE BOOKS Tjasa Suvak is tied for 14th all-time at UNM for career singles wins. The junior has 58, which puts her at the same mark as Nat Klavora who played for the Lobos from 1994-97.
Suvak has also made history with the number of combined career singles and doubles wins she possesses. As of now, she has a total of 106 which puts her in 15th place all-time.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
WYOMING COWGIRLS Wyoming is an even 8-8 overall and is 0-2 in the MWC after being blanked 7-0 by both San Diego State and UNLV last weekend. The Cowgirls have also experienced two other 7-0 shutouts by No. 72 Sacramento State and Portland. UW is currently sixth in the Mountain West Conference's most recent poll.
Patricia Chien has occupied Wyoming’s No. 1 spot lately after playing at No. 2 for a majority of the sping season. Her singles record stands at 16-10 overall and she is 9-16 with Katie Gyulai at the No. 2 doubles spot. Junior Yuliani Santi has split time between the No. 1 and 2 singles spots with Chien. Her record is 19-12 overall.
The Lobos are 6-0 in the MWC against Wyoming. Last season UNM hosted the Cowgirls at the Lobo Tennis Club and defeated them 7-0.
COLORADO STATE RAMS CSU has had mixed results this season. It has lost three straight, to conference opponents SDSU, UNLV as well as neighboring CU-Boulder, to give it a seventh place MWC standing. Overall, the Rams are 4-6, 0-2 MWC, earning wins against Drake, Creighton, CSU-Fullerton and UC-Riverside.
No. 1 singles player, Sanja Hansson, has compiled a winning 18-6 singles record and is 11-9 in doubles. Hansson has yet to beat a ranked opponent this year, despite four attempts at it. Hansson also plays at No. 1 doubles with partner Dasha Zhurin. The pair is 11-9 overall.
Colorado State is 0-13 against New Mexico and lost last year at the Lobo Tennis Club, 5-2, to the Lobos.
LOBOS IN THE RANKINGS Sandy Lukowski received her first career national ranking last week. The I.T.A lists Lukowski at No. 82 following her strong performances against ranked opponents Virginia Commonwealth and Tulane.
UNM moved up in the I.T.A. rankings last week from No. 52 to No. 49. The squad has maintained its superb ranking and is still listed in the top-50 in the nation this week due to the recent 3-0 conference record at home .
PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOREES Freshman tennis sensation Maja Kovacek was awarded her first career MWC Player of the Week accolade on Feb. 19 after she recorded a 2-0 singles record against No. 57 Boise State and No. 40 Washington. Her overall fall and spring record stands at 20-11, giving her one of the winningest freshman records in UNM history.
Lobo sophomore Tiffany Robertson was also awarded Player of the Week honors by the MWC (March 5). The New Zealand native went 3-0 at the UNLV Invite in early March, getting wins over Loyola Marymount, No. 44 Oklahoma and No. 75 CSU-Northridge.
Sandy Lukowski is the most recent Lobo to garner Player of the Week honors (March 19). Lukowski was awarded the distinction after beating players from No. 23 Virginia Commonwealth and No. 32 Tulane. The biggest win of the weekend for the junior came against No. 27-ranked Julie Smekodub of Tulane. The victory was undoubtedly the largest of her career and for the Lobos this season so far.
|TEAM (RANK)|WIN|LOSS|PCT| |UNLV (22)|5|0|1.000| |San Diego State (28)|4|1|.800| |BYU (56)|2|1|.667| |New Mexico (49)|3|2|.600| |Air Force|1|4|.200| |Wyoming|0|2|.000| |Colorado State|0|2|.000| |Utah|0|3|.000|