Photo courtesy NM Athletics
ALBUQUERQUE – Erandi Martinez, Lina Sachica and Veronika Lebisova all won singles matches but homestanding New Mexico snuck past UTEP, 4-3, Thursday afternoon.
The Miners (2-5) were competitive in doubles play but the Lobos (6-2) took the point and then did just enough in singles to hold off the Orange and Blue.
“I knew it was going to be a very close match,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “All three of the doubles (matches) could have gone either way. I was confident that we would compete well in the singles. I’m proud of how hard everyone fought but especially Vane (Vanessa Valdez) to come back from 0-5 down in the third set to get it to a tiebreaker. She showed tremendous heart and fight. Erandi (Martinez) continues to play well, and it’s great to have Vero (Veronika Lebisova) and Lina (Sachica) starting to win some. It was a great learning experience for everyone, and I hope we put it to practice the last few matches of the spring.”
It was a well contested battle in doubles, but UNM took all three matches. Hsiang-Wen Huang/Satoho Toriumi edged Kathleen Percegona/Lina Sachica, 7-6, (7-4) at No. 3 doubles. It was close on No. 2 doubles as well with Yue Lin Chen/Myu Kagayama clipping Vanessa Valdez/Eve Daniels, 7-5. Thassane Abrahim/Veronika Lebisova fell to Natasha Munday/ Hsuan Huang, 6-3, at the No. 1 position.
Action then switched to singles where the Miners mounted their rally. Lebisova drilled Toriumi, 6-2, 6-0, at No. 6 singles for her third straight victory. Martinez pushed her winning streak to two by dispatching Munday, 6-4, 7-6, at No. 2 singles. Sachica also took care of business in straight sets, blasting Hsiang-Wen Huang, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 5 singles.
UNM’s Hsuan Huang toppled Abrahim, 6-2, 6-1, at No. 3 singles and Kagayama bounced Percegona, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 4 singles. That put all of the attention at No. 1 singles where Valdez and Chen were locked up in an epic battle. Valdez took the first set, 6-4, but Chen bounced back to win the second set, 6-3.
Chen then raced out to a 5-0 lead in the third set, but Valdez refused to quit. She fought off one match point at 5-1, two at 5-2, one at 5-3 and three at 5-4 before the eventual tiebreaker that would go the way of the home side.
UTEP will return to action at home against UT Tyler on April 9.
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- Yue Lin Chen (UNM) def. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2)
- Erandi Martinez (UTEP) def. Natasha Munday (UNM) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
- Hsuan Huang (UNM) def. Thassane Abrahim (UTEP) 6-2, 6-1
- Myu Kagayama (UNM) def. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-4, 6-4
- Lina Sachica (UTEP) def. Hsiang-Wen Huang (UNM) 6-3, 6-1
- Veronika Lebisova (UTEP) def. Satoho Toriumi (UNM) 6-2, 6-0
- Natasha Munday/ Hsuan Huang (UNM) def. Thassane Abrahim/Veronika Lebisova (UTEP) 6-3
- Yue Lin Chen/Myu Kagayama (UNM) def. Vanessa Valdez/Eve Daniels (UTEP) 7-5
- Hsiang-Wen Huang/Satoho Toriumi (UNM) def. Kathleen Percegona/Lina Sachica (UTEP) 7-6 (7-4)
New Mexico 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (,2,3); Singles (6,3,5,4,2,1)