Women's Tennis: Lobos Finish Third in the MWC, Host Texas Tech This Weekend
UPCOMING - The UNM womens tennis team, which received its highest national ranking of 48th this week, will finish up its regular season schedule on Saturday, April 19 when it plays host to the neighboring Red Raiders of Texas Tech. Match time is set for 11 a.m. at the Lobo Tennis Club in Albuquerque. The lone senior on the squad, Rachel Hatley, will be honored at the match, which will be her final home collegiate competition.
The Lobos finished third in the MWC regular season ranks with a 5-2 record and will face No. 6 seeded Air Force in the first round of the MWC Championships. UNM will play the Falcons on Thursday, April 24 at 2 p.m. at the Barnes Tennis Center on the campus of San Diego State University. The winner of that game will face either No. 2 seed SDSU or No. 7 seed Utah at 2 p.m. the following day.
LAST TIME OUT The Lobos were off last weekend, but played in their final two conference matches April 5 and 6 in Colorado Springs, Colo. against Wyoming and Colorado State. New Mexico swept Wyoming 7-0 and almost equaled that with a 6-1 rout of Colorado State.
Singles No. 1: Maja Kovacek returned to the top spot for the Lobos. She beat Wyomings Patricia Chien and CSUs Sanja Hansson in two straight sets.
No. 2: Sandy Lukowski had success at No. 2. She downed Yuliani Santi of Wyoming as well as Dasha Zhurin of CSU.
No. 3: Michelle Heidbrink defeated UWs Kati Gyulai, but Tjasa Suvak fell to Alex Paganetti of Colorado State the next day at No. 4, suffering the only Lobo loss of the weekend.
No. 4: Tiffany Robertson had an outstanding performance against Wyomings Jennifer Hancock as did Michelle Heidbrink vs. the Rams Carla Pallares.
No. 5: Tiffany Robertson and Maria Ruiz-Fabrega shared time at the fifth spot. Ruiz-Fabrega had no trouble with the Cowgirls Gwen Moser. Robertson excelled against CSU player Jessica Jones.
No. 6: Rachel Hatley was back in the Lobo lineup against Wyoming and proved her ability to gain points for UNM. She defeated Wyomings Megan Williams in two solid sets. Maria Ruiz-Fabrega faced Tatyana Ugorich of CSU and defeated her in the first set before Ugorich retired in the second to give the Lobo junior the win.
Doubles No. 1: Kovacek and Lukowski were unstoppable at the top Lobo spot. The duo rolled over both pairs of Chien/Moser of Wyoming and CSUs Hansson/Zhurin.
No. 2: Ruiz-Fabrega and Hatley furthered their excellent doubles record with two wins over the duo of Gyulai/Hancock of Wyoming and Pallares/Ugorich of CSU.
No. 3: Robertson and Heidbrink finished out the Lobo doubles sweep, getting wins over Santi/Williams of UW and Jones/Paganetti of CSU.
LOOKING AT THE TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS Texas Tech has had perhaps the roughest year of any competitor the Lobos have matched up against. The Lady Raiders are 2-13 and 2-9 in the Big 12. The only two wins for Texas Tech have been against Iowa State and No. 44 Missouri, both conference opponents. TTU finished the 2001-2002 season with a record of 10-13.
Irina Tereschenko has spent all of her time at No. 1 for Texas Tech and has a 13-15 singles record to show for it. In doubles, she and partner Beverly Dawson are ranked No. 33 in the nation and have a 22-7 record. They have earned big wins over ranked teams from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri, all of which are Big 12 schools. Tereschenko was last in the individual singles rankings on March 24 when she was listed at No. 109 in the nation.
Sophomore Kendall Brooks plays at No. 3 and 4 singles positions for the Lady Raiders. Despite having a record of 9-18 she was ranked 119th on March 31.
The last time the Lobos played the Lady Raiders was in 2002 in Lubbock, Texas. UNM came away with a 5-2 win.
LOBOS IN THE RANKINGS Sandy Lukowski received her first career national singles ranking (82nd) in March. The I.T.A. now lists Lukowski at No. 116.
The doubles team of Lukowski and Maja Kovacek has received a No. 55 national ranking from the I.T.A as of April 9.
UNM moved up in the I.T.A. rankings this week from No. 52 to No. 48. The team has not fallen out of the top-60 since it was ranked No. 65 on Feb. 19. Since then the Lobos have maintained a ranking of 55th or better.
IN THE BOOKS Tjasa Suvak is tied for 14th all-time at UNM for career singles wins. The junior has 59, which puts her at the same mark as Rachel Wilson who played for the Lobos from 1988-90.
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 109 which puts her in a tie for 14th with Janny Cook (89-'92).
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 22-11, 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 biggest of her career and for the Lobos this season so far.
MAJAS MILESTONE Freshman Maja Kovacek is presently leading the team in singles wins with 22, most of which have been earned at the No. 1 spot. In doubles she has compiled 20 wins, both with partners Tjasa Suvak and Sandy Lukowski, which ties the number the duo of Ruiz-Fabrega and Hatley have earned over the fall and spring seasons.