Idaho women’s tennis will come back home this week after a win against Montana State and losses to Montana and New Mexico in Bozeman, Mont., finishing what was a rocky streak of road matches as the Vandals look forward to playing Eastern Washington at home.
In the Friday opening match of the trip the Vandals won a close 4-3 match, bringing flashbacks to their hard-fought win against Nevada two weeks ago. In No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles Victoria Lozano and Almudena Sanz gave the Vandals a good head start. Lozano, at No.1 singles, won the first set 6-2 and dominated the second set 6-1. Together Sanz and Lozano battled for a 9-7 win in doubles against Bobcats senior Charlotta Hjalmarsson and junior Paulina Lopez Trevino. Sanz also did her part shutting out the Bobcats’ Iva Parapunova 6-0 in the first set followed by a 6-3 win in the second set.
Belen Barcenilla lost at No. 4 singles, giving the Bobcats a fighting chance, but Constance Alexander at No. 3 singles lived up to her personal expectations to win 6-4, 7-5. Alexander came back from a 5-0 deficit against the Bobcats to get the win. Including Nevada two weeks ago, this is her second consecutive singles win. Alexander and Barcenilla have dominated in doubles play this season, and won 8-6 against the Bobcats. When playing together in any doubles spot, Barcenilla and Alexander have only lost once this season.
Despite the Vandals’ 4-3 victory against Nevada and the Montana Grizzlies’ 6-1 loss to the Wolf Pack awhile back, the Vandals didn’t have the same luck against the Grizzlies they did against MSU, losing 5-2. Lozano tried to help the Vandals with a win in No. 1 singles in a tough match lasting three sets, but other than another hard-fought win in three sets at No. 6 singles from Bety Flores, Idaho couldn’t rack up any more wins to help the cause. Not even Barcenilla could make the difference. For the first time this season, Barcenilla failed to get a match win, losing in both singles and doubles.
In both matches the Vandals played contrary to statistics that could have proven completely different outcomes. Unlike the Bobcats, the Vandals lost to Portland State and unlike the Grizzlies, the Vandals beat Nevada. Idaho appears to be unpredictable this season, starting off with four consecutive losses, shutting out Idaho State 7-0 for the Vandals’ first win, being swept by Boise State for their fifth loss but then winning two matches in a row only to lose two consecutive games.
The Vandals fought hard in Sunday’s match against the New Mexico Lobos, but still could not deliver a match victory. After defeating Sanz and Alexander in No. 1 doubles, the Lobos skated by Lozano and Barcenilla 8-6. The Lobos captured the doubles point, closing off Alejandra Lozano and Beatriz Flores despite the No. 3 doubles team winning five games. Singles was not as easy for the Lobos. Victoria Lozano was defeated 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles but the Vandals remained optimistic with Sanz winning at No. 2 followed by Alexander rallying at No. 3. Barcenilla couldn’t keep the streak going, losing at No. 4 but Flores was clutch at No. 5. Unfortunately, in a heartbreaker where Alejandra Lozano forced three sets, losing the first and rallying back to win the second, her opponent won with a final score of 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 finishing off the match in dramatic fashion.
The Vandals will return home to play Eastern Washington Wednesday at 3 p.m. before traveling to New Orleans to face off against Youngstown State and Xavier of Louisiana. Eastern is 4-7 on the season so far as the Vandals look for their fourth victory to better a losing record of 3-7.
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org