Olga Boulytcheva upset No. 17 Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor 5-7, 6-4, 1-0, (10-5) (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
MADISON -- In a battle that lasted six hours the No. 22 BYU women's tennis team (5-3) fell to No. 8 Baylor (5-1) 5-2 in the final consolation match of the USTA-ITA National Indoor Team Championships. Senior Olga Boulytcheva played excellent tennis against the Bears, beating No.17 Zuzana Zemenova in three sets.
"We fought so hard and played so hard today," Coach Craig Manning said. "Everyone just played so well."
The highlight for the Cougars came on court No. 1, where Boulytcheva and Zuzana Zemenova faced off in three sets of terrific tennis. The match featured two athletes who refused to budge an inch, a tone that was set early on. Boulytcheva and Zemenova went back and forth throughout the first match, trading blows until finally Zemenova was able to withstand Boulytcheva's play and pull out a 7-5 win. In the second set it was Boulytcheva's turn, as she answered her opponent's win with one of her own, fighting to a 6-4 victory to tie the match at a set a piece. The women played a ten-point tiebreaker in the third set, which Boulytcheva won 10-5, taking the match with her.
The only other point the Cougars scored came courtesy of Anastasia Sourkova, who has also played wonderful tennis during the tournament. She knocked off No. 80 Daniella Covello in straight sets 6-2, 6-3.
Although the Cougars came away without a win, they weren't without their chances. BYU played very well in doubles, splitting the first two matches with Baylor to set up the point-clinching third doubles match. Sourkova and Jennifer Miccoli did all they could to hold off Zuzana Zemenova and Daniella Covello, even playing their way to four match points. In the end, though, BYU couldn't hold off the eighth-ranked Bears and dropped the match in a tiebreaker 9-7.
The match with Baylor was the last match for BYU in the tournament, a tournament in which they faced the Nos. 5, 6, and 8 seeds. Although they come away from the tournament without a win, the tough competition helped them get even closer to where they want to be at the end of the season. Playing high caliber teams helped BYU find more ways they can perfect their play.
"It was a grueling tournament and we played some tough teams, but we got better with every match and performed better in every match," Manning said. "We've identified more things we can do to get better, and overall I am very happy with how this team competed this week."
The cougars will now have time to rest, as their next match is Feb. 18 against Kansas State. Those matches will be played at the Indoor Tennis Courts at BYU.
Baylor 5 BYU 2
Zemenova/Covello (BU) def. Miccoli/Sourkova (BYU) 9-7
No. 31 Zrustova/Cerna (BU) def. Jones/Chang (BYU) 8-3
Holden/Boulytcheva (BYU) def. Mihaylova/Krchnakova (BU) 8-1
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1
No. 33 Olga BOulytcheva (BYU) def No. 17 Zuzana Zemenova (BU) 5-7, 6-4, 1-0 (10-5)
Zuzana Cerna (BU) def. No. 95 Lauren Jones (BYU) 7-5, 6-2
Anastasia Sourkova (BYU) def. No. 80 Daniella Covello (BU) 6-2, 6-3
Klara Zrustova (BU) def. Sofia Holden (BYU) 6-1, 6-3
Iva Mihaylova (BU) def. Dolly Chang (BYU) 7-5, 6-4
Zuzana Krchakova (BU) def. Rana El Derwy (BYU) 6-2, 6-1
Order of Finish: 2, 6, 4, 3, 5, 1