After a home win followed by an undefeated spring break tournament in New Orleans, the Idaho women’s tennis team will go on the road again this weekend to play Denver and Texas-Arlington.
“This winning streak definitely feels nice,” coach Myriam Sopel said. “We started off with a great home match against EWU, which was a good confidence boost before the matches in New Orleans during spring break.”
Until some recent success, it has been ups and downs for the Vandals, who had a rough 0-4 start to the season. The Vandals managed a sweep against struggling Idaho State for their first win on the season but proved capable to compete with a momentous victory Feb. 15 against former WAC rival Nevada.
Ever since Beatriz Flores’ heroic win at No. 6 singles against the Wolf Pack more than a month ago, the Vandals have been on a 6-2 tear.
The question is whether the Vandals have what it takes against ranked teams such as No. 55 Denver, which they have not yet proven so far, losing to both No. 73 Washington State and No. 64 Oregon 7-0 in the first two matches of the season.
“I am obviously expecting two very competitive matches this weekend. It will be good to play a ranked team like Denver on neutral courts,” Sopel said.
UTA’s overall 1-7 record is not a clear indication of its skill set. One of those losses was a 4-2 loss against No. 19 TCU. An important indicator of the two matches this weekend will be the success of freshman, Belen Barcenilla, who has cooled down a bit after seven consecutive wins in doubles play early on. Senior Constance Alexander was on a similar streak, winning five doubles matches in a row closer to the beginning of the season. Almudena Sanz arose to win the deciding match against Youngstown State last week and Sophie Vickers and Rita Bermudez have returned to the line-up.
Currently sitting at 6-7, the Vandals will attempt to prove themselves against Denver at 8 a.m. Friday followed by UTA at the same time on Saturday morning.
Aaron Wolfe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org