(Sofia Holden) BYU clinched at least a portion of the regular season MWC title with a 4-3 over UNLV Saturday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SAN DIEGO -- No. 27 BYU clinched at least a part of the regular season Mountain West Conference title Saturday with a 4-3 win over No. 50 UNLV in its last conference match of the regular season.
UNLV took the doubles point, led by the No. 16 tandem in the nation of Elena Gantcheva and Kristina Nedeltcheva on court one. BYU's Lauren Jones and Dolly Chang won their doubles match on court two, but court three also went UNLV's way to clinch the point.
The singles competition is where the Cougars shined Saturday. No. 118 Anastasia Surkova, a three-time conference player of the week, will likely move up the national rankings after a straight set victory over No. 57 Gantcheva, a five-time conference player of the week. The win was also Surkova's tenth in a row.
BYU took the team advantage after the first three singles matches to finish with wins from Chang on court six, Sofia Holden on court five, and Survkova over Gantcheva on court one, all in straight sets.
The next two points went to Runnin' Rebels on courts four and five to tie the team score at three apiece. The weight fell on Jones for BYU and Nedeltcheva for UNLV. Jones won the first set and Nedeltcheva won the second to send the match to a deciding third set.
With all eyes on them, the two battled in the closest set of their match. In the end it was Jones who came out victorious with a 7-5 win in the third set to take home both her singles match, the team match, and at least a portion of the MWC regular season title.
"It's been a good effort from the girls all season," BYU head coach Craig Manning said. "They fought unbelievably hard all day and UNLV is a great low-altitude team. Jones pulled it out big in the clutch and Surkova had a huge win as well. Chang was undefeated all weekend. And all we're thinking about now is getting home to get some rest before the tournament."
The Cougars finish the regular season with an 18-6 record, 7-1 in conference. The MWC Tournament will run April 26-28 at the Air Force Academy.
BRIGHAM YOUNG 4, UNLV 3
April 14, 2007
Aztec Tennis Center--San Diego, Calif.
1. Elena Gantcheva/Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV) def. Anastasia Surkova/Jennifer Miccoli (BYU), 8-3
2. Lauren Jones/Dolly Chang (BYU) def. Nikol Dimitrova/Linda Tempelfelde (UNLV), 8-3
3. Clare Smith/Alisa Razina (UNLV) def. Kristina Doerr/Sofia Holden (BYU), 8-6
UNLV wins doubles point
1. Anastasia Surkova (BYU) def. Elena Gantcheva (UNLV), 7-6, 6-1
2. Lauren Jones (BYU) def. Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV), 6-2, 3-6, 7-5
3. Nikol Dimitrova (UNLV) def. Kristina Doerr (BYU), 6-3, 6-3
4. Linda Tempelfelde (UNLV) def. Chie Hayasaka (BYU), 7-5, 6-4
5. Sofia Holden (BYU) def. Alisa Razina (UNLV), 6-3, 6-2
6. Dolly Chang (BYU) def. Clare Smith (UNLV), 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish
Doubles: 2, 1, 3
Singles: 5, 6, 1, 4, 3, 2*