Two days before the season started, the Idaho women’s tennis team was without a head coach when former coach Myriam Sopel left to take the head coaching position at UTEP. Despite that, the Vandals exceeded expectations and finished 19-6 on the season.
Idaho finished its season Friday by falling to the USC Trojans 4-0 at the NCAA tournament in Los Angeles.
“It was a good accomplishment for the players,” Idaho Director of Tennis Jeff Beaman said. “For the seniors, it was their last match. They have a real sense of proud of what they’re apart of and what this program has gotten to.”
USC, which has been in and out of the ITA Top 20 this year, earned a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Championships.
“There were parts of matches where the players were right there competing with USC,” Beaman said. “They’re a very good team. They’re in the top 20 now and they have the talent to go out and play with anybody in the country. They have a lot of girls that have different professionally ranked amateurs.”
The Trojans took the doubles point, as the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams won 8-1, 8-2.
Senior Vicky Lozano, who played in her final college match, fought tough in the first set. She fell 6-4 and the second set was suspended at 5-0 because USC won the match before the set could be completed.
Galina Bykova gave her singles opponent all she could handle also. Her second set was suspended at 4-4 for the same reason.
Looking forward to next season, Idaho will lose Lozano, her sister Ale Lozano and fellow senior Almudena Sanz. However, Beaman is excited for the new crop of freshmen. He cannot announce their names of transfers until the players have finished their season.
“I think we’ve got very good transfers committed,” Beaman said. “The freshmen that we’ve got in were very highly ranked Spanish Women’s Open players. Although we lose a lot with the seniors were losing, we’re definitely reloading and continuing to grow the program.”
Conor Gleason can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org