No matter how good you are, a 128-player tournament presents a daunting task.
Last year, Idaho women’s tennis star Vicky Lozano fell in the first round of the ITA Mountain Regional Championship. This year, she made it all the way to the round of 16.
“(Lozano) just went out there, played her best tennis and really played her own game,” Idaho coach Myriam Sopel said. “That was great because it benefited her in the long run to just play her game no matter what and not think about the outcome but about the process, what she had to work on during the match and it worked out for the best.”
The Vandal women’s tennis team competed with players from 19 other western teams in the 2013 ITA Mountain Regional Championship over a five-day span from Wednesday to Sunday at Las Vegas, Nev.
Lozano defeated her first round opponent, Colorado State’s Natalie Heffron, 6-0, 6-1. Lozano stayed strong through the next two rounds winning 6-4, 6-3 and 6-2, 6-2. She didn’t drop a set until falling 6-1, 6-1 in the round of 16 to No. 41 Lucia Batta of UNLV, the host team.
The Vandals also saw success in doubles as both Idaho pairings made it to the round of 16 after starting out in the 52-team doubles draw. Lozano and senior Almudena Sanz teamed up to defeat a pair from Washington State in the first round while freshman Galina Bykova and Beatriz Flores beat a team from Denver.
Both pairings advanced through the second round before losing in the round of 16. Lozano and Sanz fell 8-6 to Michaela Bezdicvkova and Lizette Blankers of New Mexico while Bykova and Flores lost 8-5 to Winde Janssens and Nuria Ormeno of Colorado.
Sopel was pleased with how her team competed in the stacked singles and doubles draws in Las Vegas.
“We compared ourselves to great players in the region and we raised our level to compete very well in both singles and doubles,” Sopel said. “I’m really happy with our results.”
With their toughest fall tournament behind them, the Vandals compete one more time before the spring season. The team competes the weekend of Nov. 1, at Fresno, Calif., for the Bulldog Classic to conclude its fall slate.
“Moving forward, we’re going to train really hard to be ready for the next tournament in Fresno,” Sopel said. “All these tournaments are good indicators for me of where the girls stand and it’s a good for them as well to compare their level to other players in the region and other conferences. It’s really good, on all levels, to get ready physically, mentally … for our practice and to get ready for the spring season.”
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at email@example.com