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Poulsen fights hard in Cougars' WCC tournament loss
CLAREMONT, Calif. – Despite wins in doubles and singles by senior Nicolette Poulsen, BYU women’s tennis fell 4-3 to Santa Clara in the first round of the West Coast Conference tournament on Thursday.
“Today was a tough match,” BYU head coach Lauren Jones-Spencer said. “We will learn from it and be stronger next season. I’m happy Nicolette was able to finish with a great win. She played well today and ended strong.”
With the score tied 3-3, the match came down to the No. 1 singles matchup between junior Mayci Jones and SCU’s Daniella Silva. Jones battled hard, taking the match to three sets, before eventually falling to Silva, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
The Cougars dominated the match early in doubles competition in all three matchups. On court No. 2, Poulsen and junior Savannah Ware shut out Santa Clara’s Chelby Cooke and Madison Clarke with a 6-0 victory. At third doubles BYU junior Natella Nabieva and freshman Taylah Beckman mirrored the feat with a 6-0 win over the Broncos’ Zeina El Tawil and Elizabeth Stephens.
BYU’s first singles duo Jones and sophomore Brittanie Eraso blanked SCU’s Daniella Silva and Nabila Farah 5-0 and were just a point away from winning at No. 1 singles when the Cougars clinched.
“We played some of the best doubles I’ve seen all year,” Jones-Spencer said. “To win 6-0, 6-0 and be up 5-0 on the last court with match point is not easy to do. We had the match on our rackets again with clinching points but weren’t able to close it.”
The Cougars continued the strong play in singles, adding to the lead after Eraso was first off the courts with a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 6 singles. The Broncos fought back to tie the match 2-2 after Beckman fell at No. 5 singles, 6-3, 6-3, and Nabieva dropped her match 6-3, 7-5 to SCU’s Farah at fourth singles.
Poulsen gave the Cougars a 3-2 lead with a thrilling 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 win over Clarke on court No. 2. The Broncos responded with a win at third singles, with Ware falling to Cooke in a tight 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (5) match before Silva clinched the match for the Broncos.
BYU finishes the season with a 6-16 overall record, going 4-5 in WCC play. Poulsen finishes her career at BYU with a 45-45 record in singles and 44-42 in doubles.
Cougars face Broncos in first round of WCC tournament
PROVO, Utah – After finishing fifth in the West Coast Conference, BYU women’s tennis heads to Claremont, California, for the WCC tournament Thursday through Saturday.
The Cougars (6-15, 4-5 WCC) secured the No. 5 seed in the tournament after sweeping Pacific 4-0 last weekend at home. They will face the No. 4 seed, Santa Clara (12-9, 5-4 WCC), Thursday at 1 p.m. PDT.
In the teams’ matchup earlier this season, the Cougars fell 4-1 to Santa Clara at home with junior Toby Miclat scoring BYU’s only point with a win at No. 2 singles.
With a victory, BYU would advance to the semifinals to take on top-seeded Pepperdine (19-2, 9-0), ranked No. 8 nationally, Friday at 2 p.m.
The Cougars finish the regular season winning two of the last three matches, defeating Pacific and Loyola Marymount.
Tournament matches will be streamed live through the conference and can be accessed through the BYU schedule page.