Sanz keeps winning — Idaho picks up big wins, Almudena Sanz moves to 11-1 on the season
Undefeated on the weekend and 11-1 on the season, Idaho junior Almudena Sanz did her part in an impressive weekend for the Vandal women’s tennis team in Portland.
Head coach Daniel Pollock said Sanz got off to a rocky start and did just enough to win her first match but then turned it on in the second match against Portland’s number one player from last year. Her third match was no contest.
“In that last match, (Sanz) played really well and really found her feet,” Pollock said. “Third match indoors of the weekend and it seemed like she got used to the surface and the surroundings and was too good for her opponent.”
The Portland University Invite is not a normal tournament with brackets, but instead players are placed in small groups and they play everyone in the group. Sanz won first place in her group. Only Sanz, senior Constance Alexander, freshman Rita Bermudez, and junior Ale Lozano made the trip to the Invite. They all played singles and doubles.
In singles, Alexander won second in her group after going 2-1 on the weekend. She lost her first match 7-5, 6-2 to Daria Burobina from Portland State but then made quick work of Gabby Gorence (6-2,6-2) and Emily Gould (6-3, 6-0) from the University of Portland.
“She did a really good job after that first match of just settling down —its finally nice to see that because I know she is a very good player but has just been very nervous on the court since she got here,” Pollock said. “ Its good to see her finally kind of realizing her potential a little bit on the court.”
Lozano had a nice win over Emily Gould (7-5, 6-4) from UP but then lost her next two matches, including a three set battle with Kelsey Frey (7-6, 2-6, 10-7) from PSU. Bermudez was unable to get a win on the weekend but she got some good experience.
Pollock tried new doubles pairings for the weekend, placing Bermudez with Lozano and Sanz with Alexander. Bermudez/Lozano lost two close matches. They lost 9-7 to Gorrence/Dhatt from UP and 9-8(3) to Troesh/Cubelli, also from UP.
“It’s tough when it gets down to the crucial moments and you have never played with someone, that’s kind of when it shows and that happened this weekend,” Pollock said.
Alexander/Sanz lost 8-4 to Polyakova/Fuchs from UP but then defeated Gorrence/Dhatt 8-1.
“Almu and Constance struggled a little bit in their first one and then they started to understand how to play with one another and then in their second match they just mastered a pair from Portland,” Pollock said.
He said there were some good points and some learning points to take away from Idaho’s doubles performance this weekend. The main goal in doubles was to get a look at a couple different pairings since the Vandals haven’t decided on any pairings for the spring yet.
Alexander felt comfortable with the indoor courts the team played on.
“I’m also getting more comfortable with everything and just getting back into it,” Alexander said. “I felt way more relaxed than I have ever felt playing tennis before.”
The overall goal on the weekend was to get a bunch of matches in, get more match practice, and get used to playing indoor tennis because its getting to that time of year. The Vandals have one more outdoor tournament left and then it’s all indoors until the middle of March.
Pollock was happy with what he saw this weekend and said there are more positives than negatives to take away from it, but definitely some things to learn from for the girls.
“I’m happy, I think we competed extremely well, we won when even when we weren’t feeling our best and then when we were feeling well, we won comfortably,” Pollock said.
Next up for the women is the Houston Cougar Classic, Nov 2-4. This is going to be a very high level tournament with several ranked teams.
Charles Crowley can be reached at email@example.com