The UTEP tennis team (6-6) – riding a three-match winning streak – will square off against unbeaten FIU (9-0) in the opening round of the 2021 Conference USA Championships.
The matches are set to begin at 11 a.m. MT/12 p.m. CT in Denton, Texas, Thursday.
“As excited as we are to finished so strong the last few matches, we are disappointed that our seeding was not a little better for the C-USA championships,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “We will face a tough FIU team that has been playing extremely well and has made a huge jump in the rankings lately. It will be a very tough match, but we are up for the challenge and will fight until the very end.”
The victor will advance to face sixth-seeded Marshall or No. 11 seed WKU on Friday. The 14th-seeded Miners have come on strong by winning five of seven to finish the regular season with a winning percentage of at least .500 for the first time since 2015-16 (11-10 regular-season record).
But in order to prolong their season, they will have to play their best tennis yet against undefeated and No. 3 seed FIU. The Panthers are 9-0 on the year, including a 4-3 win against No. 28 Rice on April 2. FIU went 5-0 at home and 4-0 on the road.
Leading the charge into the championships will be freshman Veronika Lebisova and senior Erandi Martinez. Each forged a mark of 7-3 in singles play. Lebisova has been especially impressive by climbing out of an 0-3 start to win seven straight matches.
Freshman Elena Dibattista has also come on strong with a record of 3-1 in singles action, including back-to-back victories.
In doubles play Thassane Abrahim/Lebisova combined to go 6-3 on the year (4-3 No. 1, 2-0 No. 2). Lyric Bonilla/Kathleen Percegona also shined at 4-1 on the year.
For complete coverage of UTEP tennis, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWTennis (Twitter), @UTEP_Tennis (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics at UTEPMiners.com.