Women's MWC Tournament in San Diego

PROVO -- The fiftieth-ranked BYU women's tennis team is the No. 4 seed this year in the Mountain West Conference tournament, which begins this Thursday in San Diego and runs through Saturday. The Cougars will face Colorado State in the first round. They beat the Rams 6-1 two weeks ago.

BYU comes into the tournament with an 11-10 overall record and a 6-2 conference record. The Cougars have won their last four matches and are playing their best tennis all year.

"We are ready to go," BYU head coach Craig Manning said. "We have our top six girls healthy and we're looking forward to getting things under way."

Having lost only two conference matches all season, the Cougars feel like they have a great chance of winning all three matches in the tournament and claiming the championship.

"Our seed is really good for us," Manning said. "We just beat Colorado State last week, so if we can beat them, we will probably face UNLV. Even though UNLV is the top-seeded team in the tournament, we beat them 6-1 recently, so I feel pretty good about our chances."

The key for the Cougars in the tournament will be the doubles point. BYU has played excellent doubles all year and they are tough at all three positions. Seniors Elizaveta Klempner and Dominique Reynolds have teamed up at the No. 1 position to post a 12-9 overall record. At the No. 2 spot, Hadley MacFarlane and Nicole Schneider finished the regular season on a four-match win streak and a 15-7 overall record. Olga Boulytcheva and Rebecca Pike have only lost two matches all season at the No. 3 position. They are 6-1 in conference play and 16-2 overall.

"I have been very pleased with how our doubles teams have played all season," Manning said. "We just need to keep things going and make sure we get the doubles point."

The singles play for the Cougars has been equally impressive. All but one girl ended the season with a winning record. With injuries to key players on the team, the underclassmen have stepped things up and filled in with consistent play all year.

The two freshmen have been the most notable. MacFarlane has only lost six matches all year while compiling 21 victories playing primarily at the last three singles positions. Boulytcheva has also posted a record of 11-8 in dual match play at the No. 3 spot.

"Our freshmen have really been playing big for us all year," Manning said. "When we had a few girls go down with injuries, I was pretty worried. But they stepped in and played incredible. They didn't play like freshmen."

With the majority of the team in good health and coming off four victories, the Cougars are poised to win big matches and take the MWC championship.

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