After a tough weekend tournament in Eugene, Ore., the Idaho women’s tennis team continues on the road to redemption against Idaho State and Boise State Saturday and Sunday.
“We had a rough start. Right now we’re just focusing on the matches. We always want to keep improving, that’s the goal of the team,” Idaho coach, Myriam Sopel said.
The Vandals have had a challenging first two weeks playing two top 100 ranked teams in consecutive matches. After being swept by No. 32 Washington State, the Vandals competed against a strong No. 66 Oregon team to get shut out again.
The Vandals showed potential for a victory, putting points on the board against Portland and Portland State, but fell to both teams. Idaho lost to Portland 6-1 and 5-2 to PSU. It did not help that in the PSU match, Rita Bermudez’s injury forced the Vandals to forfeit the No. 6 singles match.
“We’re taking it slowly because we know recovery is part of better preparation. We don’t want to rush it too fast,” Sopel said. “It’s a shame because we want everyone on the court healthy, but she’s doing rehab and she’s doing way better, so hopefully she’ll be back on the court soon to get us points.”
Sopel said that she cannot speculate on whether or not Bermudez will be ready to play again this weekend.
Combined, the Vandals won four doubles matches, two consecutive against Portland in that category and just two singles matches total.
The No. 1 doubles team, Victoria Lozano and Almudena Sanz took the doubles match against Portland. Lozano and Sanz also accounted for the only two singles victories for the Vandals last weekend.
Constance Alexander and Belen Barcenilla were the only winners in the 7-0 loss to Oregon with a victory at No. 2 doubles. The two players came back again at No.2 doubles with a match win against Portland State.
“There’s a lot of consistency in doubles this year because the team chemistry this year, everyone’s putting it into action in the plays,” Sopel said.
In the top doubles and singles spots, Lozano’s skills have been tested against ranked players in nail-biting losses — but for every loss she has learned something new.
“I think the main thing I have learned is that no one is unbeatable and with confidence and believing I can win the match,” Lozano said. “I think my best singles was against the Ducks. I think the girl was really good, she was attacking the ball at the beginning and I didn’t know what to do but I had to play intelligent.”
Oregon’s Patricia Skowronski defeated Lozano after a momentous win the previous week against Florida’s Danielle Collins at a tournament in Las Vegas. Collins came into the tournament ranked No. 22 in the nation. Lozano battled Skowronski at No. 1 singles and was not defeated without a fight, but ultimately fell 7-5, 6-4.
Idaho State, like the Vandals, is still looking for a win while Boise State is currently undefeated.
“I think for both teams we need to have a good attitude and be focused in our shots because they are strong teams and they have a lot of support,” Lozano said. “We have to be focused on what we want to do on the court and that’s basically it.”
The Vandals will be looking to turn the season around, sitting at a frustrating 0-4 mark thus far in the season.
“We are going to try to get the confidence back. I think that is the main point,” Sanz said.
The Vandals will face off against Idaho State 10 a.m. Feb. 9 and Boise State 9 a.m. Feb. 10. Both games will be in Boise.
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at email@example.com