Vandals get ready for final regular season matches
On Feb. 13, the Idaho women’s tennis team made its Big Sky debut against the 13-time defending conference champion Sacramento State Hornets and the Hornets narrowly edged the Vandals 4-3.
Fast-forward two months later, and the Vandals have rattled off nine straight conference wins. They have themselves in a great spot to secure the No. 2 seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.
Should this happen, Idaho would enjoy the luxury of not playing in the tournament’s opening round April 24 on the home court of the aforementioned Hornets.
The Vandals would secure the No. 2 seed with a win Saturday against Portland State.
“This team has done a nice job of not getting cocky,” Idaho coach Mariana Cobra said. “They’ve done a really great job of staying focused on the task ahead of them and we are ready for Portland State now.”
The Vandals were initially slated to begin their week of preparation for PSU Tuesday, but due to inclement weather, Cobra opted to give the team an additional day off. She said they’d earned it after an impressive 2-0 weekend sweep of Montana and Montana State.
The 6-1 win over Montana last Friday could have been a time for the Vandals to get cocky. The Vandals hadn’t beaten the Grizzlies since 2009, which was something Cobra was worried about.
“As a coach, that is always something you worry about,” Cobra said. “Once you get that big match win that we did, you can come out flat and Montana State played great, but we played greater. We were able to get them to be just as disciplined as we have been all year.”
Although the Vandals have secured their spot in the conference tournament, PSU is one the few teams still fighting for one of the six spots in the tournament.
After the match with the Vikings, the Vandals will round out the regular season with a Sunday trip to Eugene to take on Oregon.
The match with the Ducks gives the Vandals a great chance to test their level against a team from a power conference, which should be great practice for the conference tournament, Cobra said.
The Vandals could be on a collision course with the Hornets if everything falls the right way in the conference tournament.
But the conference tournament isn’t something the Vandals are thinking about quite yet, despite them knowing they will be among the six teams to make up the field.
“We don’t focus on the weekend after until we get done with this,” Cobra said. “The girls know that if we keep doing the things that we are doing we will very likely be the second seed, but right now we need to make sure we take care of business.”
Joshua Gamez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Gamez_VN