Provo, UT (Apr. 27, 2002) UNLV upset regular season champion SDSU 4-2 in the finals of the MWC Women's Tennis Championships, Saturday.
The Rebels took the early lead winning the doubles point, then conference Freshman of the Year Gyorgyi Zsiros extended her team's advantage to 2-0 with her 6-1, 6-3 straight sets victory over SDSU's Lindsey Hedberg. For a time it looked like UNLV had control of the match with a 3-0 lead after the win at the number three singles match. But SDSU's and MWC Player of the Year Silvia Tornier battled back and stayed focus in her number one singles match to defeat UNLV's Pauline Janus 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 sparking an Aztecs comeback. Then it was SDSU's Kataline Romero's victory in the number four singles that continued to give her team hope. But in the end it was UNLV's number five singles player Leentjie Oosthuizen who beat Katey Becker 6-2, 6-0 for the Rebels victory. UNLV head coach Kevin Cory picked up MWC Coach of the Year honors.
The 19th ranked UNLV team will now represent the Mountain West Conference at this year's NCAA Women's Tennis Championships that begin on May 16 in Palo Alto, California. San Diego State, ranked 28th along with the Cougars who are ranked 44th and New Mexico who finished the year ranked 55th nationally must wait until next Wednesday to see if they will be invited to the NCAA Regional tournaments for a chance to participate in this year's national championships.
In the match for fifth place it was Air Force's Ashlee Gee who came through once again for her team lifting the Falcons 4-3 over Utah.
With the match all tied up at 3-3 it was all up to Gee who was playing the number six singles spot. She defeated Utah's Allison Hansen 6-1, 6-0 for the win. Air Force took another early 3-0 lead with solid play in doubles and wins at number one and three singles. Utah came back picking up two singles points from victories at the number four and five singles to close the match at 3-2. The score was tied up again at 3-3 with Utah's win at the number four singles where Cassie Kasteler picked up the straight sets win over Kelli O' Bryant. At the number five singles it was the Utes' Irini Kotoglou defeating the Falcons' Gina Black in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.
-AGATE- UNLV-4; SDSU-2
1. Silvia Tornier (SDSU) def Pauline Janus (UNLV) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
2. Gyorgyi Zsiros (UNLV) def Lindsey Hedberg (SDSU) 6-1, 6-3
3. Agnieszka Abram (UNLV) def Katya Karrento (SDSU) 7-6, 6-3
4. Katalina Romero (SDSU) def Tracie Chong (UNLV) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5. Leentjie Oosthuizen (UNLV) def Katey Becker (SDSU) 6-2, 6-0
6. Marianne Bakken (UNLV) Indra Erichsen (SDSU) DNF
1. Janus/Abram (UNLV) def Karrento/Romero (SDSU) 8-4
2. Erichsen/Tornier (SDSU) Bakken/Zsiros (UNLV) DNF
3. Chong/Oosthuizen (UNLV) def Hedberg/Chidley (SDSU) 8-5
1. Brooke Parsons (AF) def Sheri Esrock (UU) 5-7, 6-1 (10-6)
2. Linn Ronnberg (UU) def Laura Nigro (AF) 7-6, 6-1
3. Heather Shelby (AF) def Ellen Svensson (UU) 4-6, 6-1 (10-6)
4. Cassie Kasteler (UU) def Kelli O'Bryant (AF) 6-1, 6-1
5. Irini Kotoglou (UU) def Gina Black (AF) 6-3, 6-2
7. Ashley Gee (AF) def Allison Hansen (UU) 6-1, 6-0
4. Parsons/Nigro (AF) def Kotoglou/Nigro (UU) 8-1
5. Shelby/Black (AF) Svensson/Kastler (UU) DNF
6. Gee/O'Bryant (AF) def ronnberg/Esrock (UU) 8-2
PROVO -- The No. 44 BYU women?s tennis team, coming off three straight conference victories, will host the 2002 Mountain West Conference Tournament beginning Thursday. The Cougars will start the tournament by playing in-state rival Utah on the first day of the three-day tournament at 2 p.m.
BYU has overcome injuries to several key players at different times this season to gain the No. 4 seed for the tournament. BYU head coach Craig Manning is excited to see how the Cougars will play now that everyone on the team has gotten over their injuries.
?This is the healthiest we?ve been all season,? Manning said. ?Everybody is playing well and everybody?s healthy, so we?re ready.?
In 2001, BYU steamrolled the rest of the conference on its way to a perfect 7-0 dual-match record. The Cougars kept it going in the MWC Tournament, when they won the championship with three consecutive wins.
This year will be harder for the Cougars, with three other teams ranked ahead of them nationally. BYU struggled early in the conference schedule, but finished strong with some tough wins on the road.
Joining BYU in the national rankings is No. 19 UNLV, No. 28 San Diego State and No. 55 New Mexico. During the regular season, the Cougars lost all three matches against the other ranked opponents.
Now that the Cougars are healthy though, Manning thinks a repeat is definitely possible and he feels the Cougars match up well with each team.
?I think we can do it,? Manning said. ?I really believe we can win, but we?re going to have to play well.?
With the No. 4 seed, BYU will have the toughest opening round match of the top seeds. While BYU easily knocked off Utah 5-2 in the season finale, Utah is still a tough team with talented players.
?They?re not easy,? Manning said. ?I think we?d rather have a harder match first to get us going.?
Brooke Beverley, who missed the final two matches of the season, is healthy again and will play in the tournament. She will probably join forces with Dominique Reynolds in doubles play, and the pair is ranked No. 35 in the nation.
Reynolds has been on fire lately in singles play, winning her last 12 matches. Her last loss of the season came way back on Feb. 20, and during the streak she has only lost one set.
Newcomers Rebecca Pike and Nicole Schneider, both from Australia, have given the Cougars much needed depth in their lineup. Pike was not cleared to play until seven matches ago, but she is starting to come around at the right time.
Lu Oswald, Lindsay Ferrell and Liza Khoudoiarova have been the other Cougars giving the team consistent play. Oswald moved all the way up to the No. 1 singles position by the end of the season, and she won her final match of the season over Sheri Esrock of Utah.
Ferrell and Oswald played most of the year together in doubles at the No. 2 position, while Khoudoiarova teamed with Pike at No. 3. In singles play, Khoudoiarova has been extremely successful at the bottom of the lineup, compiling a 17-9 season record.
The winner of the conference tournament gains an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The tournament selections should be made Wednesday.
To follow all the action from the MWC Tournament, the recaps and photos from each match will be posted on the internet at themwc.fansonly.com/sports/w-tennis/stats/wtennis-today-mwc.html