Cowgirl Tennis Claims Share of First-Ever Mountain West Title
* University of Wyoming press release
FORT COLLINS, Colo., -- History was made Friday for the Wyoming Cowgirl tennis team down in Fort Collins. Wyoming secured at least a share of its first conference title in program history behind the strength of a 4-2 victory over Air Force.
A win Saturday against New Mexico would give the Cowgirls the outright Mountain West crown.
“I don’t know how it feels yet, because I’m still in Game Mode,” said Cowgirl Head Coach Dean Clower after the match. “It was a heck of a battle. Both teams fought hard, Air Force is well-coached, especially in doubles. I thought that it was good that we could bounce back, it was all about guts and who wanted it most. Heart, guts, Blue Collar Tennis, it’s kind of the Wyoming Way.”
UW (13-9, 8-1 MW) started off behind the eight ball Friday after Air Force opened the match by taking doubles. The Cowgirls got a win from the team of Noesjka Brink and NIkol Dobrilova at No. 3, 6-4, but it was not enough to prevail in doubles play.
On the singles side of things, the Cowgirls shined and fought back after an early deficit, much like they have all season long. Maria Oreshkina and Violetta Borodina got Wyoming on the board with quick victories at No. 2 and 4, respectively. Oreshkina was the first one to be down in singles with a 6-2 and 6-2 win. Borodina, meanwhile, was victorious 6-1, 6-2.
After a loss at the third singles spot, Wyoming needed to win two of the final three singles matches to earn the title. The Cowgirls showed the depth of their lineup as they got victories at No. 1 and No. 6 to secure the conference crown. Ana Fernandez won a three-set thriller, 2-6, 7-5 and 6-2 to put Wyoming on the precipice before Sophie Zehender clinched things at No. 1. Zehender also won in three sets, 7-5, 1-6 and 6-2.
“Today was a battle and it was all mental,” said Fernandez and Zehender post-match. ”We were fighting on every court. On every line we stayed focused and in our zone. We didn’t let external things effect our play and we battled.”
The Cowgirls now go for the outright MW title and the No. 1 seed at next week’s Mountain West Tournament Saturday against New Mexico. First serve against the Lobos has been pushed to 12:30 p.m., down in Fort Collins and was moved indoors to the Fort Collins Country Club due to inclement weather.
Wyoming 4, Air Force 2
1. Fitch/Odom (AFA) def. Ana Fernandez/Sophie Zehender (WYO) 6-4
2. Cotuna/Flodin (AFA) def. Violetta Borodina/Maria Oreshkina (WYO) 6-4
3. Noesjka Brink/Nikol Dobrilova (WYO) def. Swift/Van Houweling (AFA) 6-4
1. Zehender (WYO) def. Fitch (AFA) 7-5, 1-6, 6-2
2. Oreshkina (WYO) def. Flodin (AFA) 6-2, 6-2
3. Odom (AFA) def. Brink (WYO) 6-3, 6-1
4. Borodina (WYO) def. Swift (AFA) 6-1, 6-2
5. Dobrilova (WYO) vs. Cotuna (AFA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-6 unfinished
6. Fernandez (WYO) def. Van Houweling (AFA) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
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