Conference Play Starts in New Mexico

The No. 57 BYU women's tennis team will be in New Mexico this weekend as they face Air Force and New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- After two big wins over nationally-ranked opponents last weekend, the No. 57 BYU women's tennis team (6-8) will be on the road in New Mexico this weekend to begin conference play as they take on Air Force on Friday and No. 49 New Mexico on Saturday. Both matches will be played in Albuquerque beginning at noon.

Last weekend, the Cougars beat No. 58 Boise State 4-3 and No. 38 South Carolina 5-2, improving their record to 6-8 on the season. Senior Liza Klempner led the Cougars at the No. 1 singles spot by winning both matches at her position. She beat No. 66 Renate Stoop in a tough three-set match, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. On Saturday, against South Carolina, she beat No. 102 Kathy Boyanovich 6-3, 6-3.

"Our first match with Boise State was a tough one," said BYU head coach Craig Manning. "We didn't play our best, but we just really fought hard and came up with the victory. On Saturday against South Carolina, everyone on the team really played well. It seemed like everything just came together for us."

Air Force is currently the last place team in the MWC with a 7-5 overall record and a 0-2 record in conference play. Both conference losses came last week as they fell to No. 32 San Diego State 7-0 and to No. 24 UNLV 6-1.

"Air Force is going to be tougher than usual," said Manning. "They have lost two matches, but those losses came against the two top teams in the conference. They'll be ready to play, so we'll need to be ready for them."

The 49th-ranked Lobos of New Mexico come into this weekend's match with an even 8-8 overall record and is currently tied with Air Force for last place in the conference with an 0-2 record. The Lobos lost to No. 32 SDSU 5-2 and to No. 24 UNLV 4-3. The Lobos will look to No. 82 Sandy Lukowski to lead them to victory over the Cougars.

"New Mexico is always tough," said Manning. "We're going to have to play really well, especially playing down there on their home courts."

After this weekend's action in New Mexico, BYU will be back at home next weekend as they continue conference play against SDSU on Friday and UNLV on Saturday. Both matches will begin at noon.