Wildcats Claw Past Cougars
PROVO -- After a long, difficult match, the No. 68 BYU women’s tennis team suffered a heartbreaking loss to No. 50 Arizona. The Cougars, now 3-5 on the season, barely missed out on an upset in the 4-3 contest.
“It was another tough match,” BYU coach Joey Johnson said. “We had several opportunities. We’re right there.”
Kristina Doerr and Romina Nedakovic swiftly defeated their opponents 8-3 at the No. 2 position to earn the first doubles victory. On court one, it was a battle between two ranked pairs. BYU’s No. 27 McCall Jones and Megan Price struggled against No. 42 Natasha Marks and Alexandria Naydenova but eventually won the match 8-6 to secure the doubles point. Chie Hayaska and Elle Carney quickly followed with a win of their own to complete the pairs sweep.
“The good thing is we showed that we can play on their level,” Johnson said. “We’re on the edge and we need to keep pushing ahead.”
In singles, Arizona’s Sarah Landsman put the Wildcats right back in the match with a straight-set win at the No. 2 spot. No. 77 Jones returned the favor with her defeat of No. 88 Marks on court one. Hayasaka and Price both split sets but finally fell in the third to put UA within one point of the victory.
Carney kept hope alive for BYU with a 6-3, 6-4 win at the No. 6 position to tie things up. Nedakovic, the last Cougar on the court, rolled through her first set 6-4 but dropped the second 6-1. Despite her best efforts, the sophomore fell 2-6 in the third set, and the Wildcats notched another win.
“We know we’re capable of playing with higher-ranked teams,” Johnson said. “We’re glad for another opportunity to show that Saturday against DePaul.”
Saturday BYU will return to the court to play No. 22 DePaul. The match starts at 10 a.m. at the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts located south of the Smith Fieldhouse. Admission is free and all BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public all day Saturday.
No. 68 BYU-3
No. 50 Arizona-4
1. No. 27 Jones/Price (BYU) def. No. 42 Marks/Naydenova (UA) 8-6
2. Doerr/Nedakovic (BYU) def. Landsman/Rietsch (UA) 8-3
3. Carney/Hayasaka (BYU) def. Masschelein/Huh (UA) 8-5
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1. No. 77 M. Jones (BYU) def. No. 88 N. Marks (UA) 6-4, 6-2
2. S. Landsman (UA) def. K. Doerr (BYU) 6-3, 6-4
3. A. Naydenova (UA) def. C. Hayasaka (BYU) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
4. A. Masschelein (UA) def. M. Price (BYU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
5. C. Reitsch (UA) def. R. Nedakovic (BYU) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2
6. E. Carney (BYU) def. J. Huh (UA) 6-3, 6-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 4, 6, 5
Two Tough Home Matches Ahead
PROVO -- A challenging weekend at home awaits the No. 68 BYU women’s tennis team. The Cougars face No. 40 Arizona Friday and No. 22 DePaul Saturday.
“We’re trying to keep being aggressive and trying to build up for conference play,” BYU assistant coach Lauren Spencer said. “We want to gain momentum and confidence so when the conference matches come around we’ll be ready to go.”
After a week off, BYU will get the chance to continue developing that confidence and momentum. The 3-4 Cougars’ last outing was a 6-1 rout of then-No. 65 Denver. Current ITA rankings put sophomore McCall Jones at No. 77 in singles and the duo of Jones and classmate Megan Price at No. 24.
“The girls are ready to play again,” Spencer said. “They are rested and looking to get out there and compete again.”
First up for BYU will be the 7-1 Wildcats of Arizona. UA has one singles player ranked in the top-100 in Natasha Marks who holds the No. 88 spot. Last week, the Wildcats defeated No. 43 St. Mary’s 4-2. BYU and Arizona last met in 2006 when the Cougars fell 4-1 in the first round of NCAA tournament play.
The next hurdle for BYU will be an 8-1 DePaul squad. The Blue Demons beat Louisville 5-2 last week to extend their winning streak to six matches. DePaul is having a strong season, moving up more than 20 spots to earn a program-high No. 22 ranking. This will be the inaugural meeting of the two teams.
Friday’s match begins at 11 a.m. and first serve is set for 10 a.m. Saturday. Both matches will be held in the BYU Indoor Tennis Courts, south of the Smith Fieldhouse. Admission is free and BYU “Y Lot” parking lots are open to the public after 4 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday.