After a tight singles match, the UTEP women’s tennis team fell to Houston 4-3 in the home opener at the El Paso Tennis Club on Saturday. The Miners are now 2-6 on the season while the Cougars improved to 3-2.
In a thrilling fashion, UTEP senior Daphne Visscher made a remarkable 7-5 second set comeback after being down 5-2 to force a third set, but could not hold on as Houston’s Constandena Nicolaou took the deciding set 6-2 to seal the Cougar victory.
“We fought hard,” second-year head coach Robert Aspillaga said. “It was close, we put ourselves in a position to win but it didn’t go in our favor. That doesn’t take away from the hard work the girls put in.”
The Miners took the doubles point early to grab a lead on Houston. Intercollegiate Tennis Association No. 48 doubles team Vivienne Kulicke and Milou Pietersz handled the Cougars’ Tsveta Dimitrova and Cristina Rovira 6-1 while Raven Bennett and Visscher topped Lauren Alter and Sveva Mazzari 6-4.
Playing on court one at the No. 1 position, Kulicke made quick work of her singles match, taking down Dimitrova in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Pietersz grabbed another singles point for the Miners in a marathon match on court two, slipping past Mazzari 6-0, 3-6, 6-4. Miner senior Duda Santos lost to Rovira 6-2, 6-2 on court three and Bennett kept it close on court six but ultimately fell to Houston’s Ana Glumac 6-4, 6-3. Playing on court four, Lois Wagenvoort was defeated by Alter in straight sets.
Due to inclement weather, the Miners’ match against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, originally scheduled for Monday, February 13, has been rescheduled to an undecided date.
The UTEP squad will hit the road again to compete in three dual matches next weekend. First in Laramie, Wyo., the team will take on Nebraska-Kearney on Friday, February 17, and Wyoming on Saturday, February 18. First serve for both matches is 11 a.m. MT. The team will then head to Boulder, Colo. to round out the road trip against the Colorado Buffalo at 10 a.m. MT on Sunday, February 19.
FINAL: Houston 4, UTEP 3
1. Vivienne Kulicke (UTEP) def. DIMITROVA, Tsveta (HOU) 6-4, 6-2
2. Milou Pietersz (UTEP) def. MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) 6-0, 3-6, 6-4
3. ROVIRA, Cristina (HOU) def. Duda Santos (UTEP) 6-2, 6-2
4. ALTER, Lauren (HOU) def. Lois Wagenvoort (UTEP) 6-4, 6-4
5. NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) def. Daphne Visscher (UTEP) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
6. GLUMAC, Ana (HOU) def. Raven Bennett (UTEP) 6-4, 6-3
1. Vivienne Kulicke/Milou Pietersz (UTEP) def. DIMITROVA, Tsveta/ROVIRA, Cristina (HOU) 6-1
2. Duda Santos/Lois Wagenvoort (UTEP) vs. GLUMAC, Ana/NICOLAOU, Constanden (HOU) unfinished
3. Raven Bennett/Daphne Visscher (UTEP) def. ALTER, Lauren/MAZZARI, Sveva (HOU) 6-4
Order of finish:
Singles: 1, 3, 6, 4, 2, 5
Doubles: 1, 3, 2 (unfinished