Cougars Blank Aggies in Season Opener
PROVO -- The BYU women's tennis team opened the season with a big win over Utah State blanking the Aggies 7-0 Friday night in the BYU Indoor Tennis Facility.
"I'm really proud of the players tonight," head coach Craig Manning said. "They all played really tough. I think some of them were a bit nervous at the beginning, but they pulled together and did great."
In doubles play Sofia Holden and Nicole Schneider helped score the first team point for BYU as they took care of Cougar territory in eight straight, toppling Andrea Hansen and Shelley Moon of Utah State 8-0.
At the number one doubles spot Barbora Zhanova and Hadley Macfarlane got an early lead against Utah State's Linsay Bennion and Carolyn Stevens. The Cougar duo worked to hold that lead as they fought to the bitter end defeating the Aggies 8-4. Macfarlane's strong serving and Zahnova's net play aided in the victory for the Cougars.
Coach Manning made the switch of having Macfarlane play side-by-side with Zahnova just one week before the match. In the fall campaign, Zahnova played along side Sofia Holden and Schneider was teamed with Macfarlane. The change appeared beneficial for the entire team in tonight's match against the Aggies.
"I just felt that the combination would work better for both sets of girls," Manning said. "Sofia and Nicole really played well together. I am really pleased with the way it turned out."
In singles play, all six Cougars took their opponents in two straight sets. Schneider and Rebecca Pike both came from behind in their second sets to post scores of 6-0, 7-5 and 6-1, 6-3. Schneider finished her match with a huge ace to seal the Cougar shut out.
One highlight for the Cougars came with the return of Senior Lu Oswald. Today's match marked the first for Oswald in a year. Last year Oswald underwent shoulder surgery to repair a hampering injury. Tonight, Oswald defeated Carolyn Stevens of Utah State 6-2, 6-1.
"It was really nice to see Lu compete again," Manning said. "It has been a year to the day and she really did a great job."
The Cougars next match is against Boise State on January 24 at Noon in the BYU Indoor Tennis Facility.
Barbora Zahnova (BYU) def. Linsay Bennion (USU) 6-1, 6-0
Sofia Holden (BYU) def. Jill Smith (USU) 6-1, 6-0
Lauren Jones (BYU) def. Shelley Moon (USU) 6-1, 6-2
Lu Oswald (BYU) def. Carolyn Stevens (USU) 6-2, 6-1
Rebecca Pike (BYU) def. Courtney Anderson (USU) 6-1, 6-3
Nicole Schneider (BYU) def. Andrea Hansen (USU) 6-0, 7-5
MacFarlane and Zahnova (BYU) def Bennion and Stevens (USU) 8-4
Holden and Schneider (BYU) def Hansen and Moon (USU) 8-0
Oswald and Pike (BYU) vs. Smith and Monson (USU) DNF
Attendance -- 96
BYU Women to Host Aggies in Season Opener
PROVO -- For the season opener, the BYU women's tennis team will host in state rival Utah State Friday January 16 in Provo at 5 p.m. in the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts.
BYU last competed in the Central Regional Playoff in November where it defeated teams from the University of Oklahoma and the University of New Mexico to earn their bid to the National Indoor Championship in February.
In their last meeting, the Cougars blanked the Aggies 7-0 in Provo. Individual players also had key wins over Utah State in September during the BYU Invitational. This season, the Cougars and Aggies each have six returning players.
"We had a great preseason and the girls are just itching to play," head coach Craig Manning said. "The girls have worked really hard in the off-season to condition themselves to be ready for the upcoming season."
During the off-season the team met each morning to work with strength and conditioning coaches. The conditioning is part of coach Manning's effort to help the players stay strong throughout the season and avoid injuries.
This season, the Cougars have added depth to their roster with newcomer Barbora Zahnova, a Virginia Commonwealth transfer. Zahnova is currently ranked No. 32 nationally in singles and 21st in doubles with teammate Sofia Holden.
BYU will receive experience and strength from senior Lu Oswald. Oswald underwent shoulder surgery last season to repair a torn rotator cuff. Manning feels confident that Oswald is ready to compete and will have another great year.
Other returning players this season include Rebecca Pike, Nicole Schneider, Olga Boulytcheva, Hadley Macfarlane and Hanni Whittenbecker. Lauren Jones and Sofia Holden are the only freshmen on the squad.
The players are ready to begin the regular season and look forward to facing some tough competition this season.