Anastasia Surkova led the Cougars to a victory in their first match of the season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- In the first of two matches in as many days, the BYU women's tennis team (No. 30) opened its season by beating the University of Denver Pioneers (No. 58) 5-2 in preparation for Saturday's match against the University of Washington.
The night featured a match that junior Anastasia Surkova has been looking forward to since the Regional Championships in October when Surkova reached the final match of the tournament and was set to play Denver's Annette Aksdal but chose to pull out of the match so as to not play on Sunday. As a result, Aksdal went to the national tournament and Surkova could only go for doubles competion.
"I cannot say how it would have turned out if I would have played her at regionals," Surkova said. "It would have been the sixth match of the day, but if it would have been a match like today I think I would have had a good chance to beat her."
Based on Friday's match in No. 1 singles, Surkova was probably right. She beat Aksdal in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2 in the shortest match of the night. Aksdal was visibly frustrated, and Surkova was all smiles as she hit a number of forehand and backhand winners while Aksdal had trouble keeping her first serve in.
No. 2 singles also featured a newsworthy storyline. The Cougars' Lauren Jones had a bad allergic reaction and did not sleep most of the night before the match. She tried to rest during the day to prepare for her match against Julia Bauregger, but Jones was obviously struggling physically as she leaned on her racket between points, something her father said he had never seen her do before.
"She has had 10 saltine crackers and a banana to eat all day," Marshall Jones said. "I don't know how she has the energy to play at all."
Down a set, Jones took the first three games of the second set and rolled to a 6-1 win to tie the set count at one apiece. Bauregger returned the favor and took the first three games of the third set before Jones had to take a moment off the court because she was so sick. That moment proved to be all Jones needed, and she came back with a vengeance. The match went to 4-1 in Bauregger's favor, but Jones would not allow her another game. Without eating or drinking anything during the three-set match because she could not stomach it, Jones walked off the court with the victory, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and is determined to play at the top of the lineup against Washington.
In other action, BYU's Dolly Chang also made quick work of Lorinda Boothman, 6-2, 6-1. Freshman Kristina Doerr, who recently graduated from high school early to join the Cougar squad, won her first match for the blue and white at the No. 3 singles spot against Marisa Mechem, 6-4, 6-4.
BYU will face off against Washington on Saturday at noon at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts. The BYU Indoor Tennis Facility is located directly south of the Smith Fieldhouse and directly east of the soccer field on the south-west corner of campus. Admission to the match is free, and all BYU parking lots are open to the public on Saturday.
BYU vs. Denver
1. Anastasia Surkova (BYU) def. Annette Aksdal (Den.) 6-1, 6-2
2. Lauren Jones (BYU) def. Julia Bauregger (Den.) 4-6, 6-1, 6-4
3. Kristina Doerr (BYU) def. Marisa Mechem (Den.) 6-4, 6-4
4. Kyla Iwinski (Den.) def. Chie Hayasaka (BYU) 6-4, 6-3
5. Rachel Sackmaster (Den.) def. Sofia Holden (BYU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Dolly Chang (BYU) def. Lorinda Boothman (Den.) 6-2, 6-1
1. Surkova/Jenny Miccoli (BYU) def. Ute Schnoy/Aksdal 8-4
2. Jones/Holden (BYU) def. Bauregger/Iwinski 8-3
3. Chang/Hayasaka (BYU) def. Sackmaster/Mechem 8-1
BYU wins 5-2