ARLINGTON – Freshman Rine Nozaki tasted victory at No. 5 singles and the UTEP tennis team was competitive in the majority of the matches in a 6-1 setback at undefeated UT-Arlington Friday. The match was delayed several hours due to rain.
“There was great energy today,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “It was very close in the doubles, and we were in all the matches. It was much closer than the (team) score shows. We had chances at No. 1 and No. 3 (singles) that were lost in super tiebreakers. It was great to see the girls fighting so hard. This was a great test today.”
The Mavericks (3-0) claimed the doubles point but the Miners (1-1) made them work for it. At the No. 3 slot UTEP’s Erandi Martinez and Rine Nozaki were clipped, 6-4, by the pairing of Carla Vives and Almudena Boza. It was a similar story at the No. 2 position, with the Miner tandem of Vanessa Valdez and Yvette Van Oijen being edged, 6-4, by Carla Pons and Momoka Horiguchi. With the doubles point decided, the battle at No. 1 doubles between UTEP’s freshmen pairing of Kirsten Prelle and Kathleen Percegona and UTA’s Lucia Natal and Nanaka Takeuchi was halted, 5-5.
Action then switched to singles play, where Nozaki provided a win for the Orange and Blue against Vives. Nozaki won the first set, 7-5, dropped the second set by the identical score and then put things away with a 10-5 result in the super tiebreaker.
Prelle started strong by taking the first set, 6-3, against Horiguchi at No. 1 singles. She was dispatched by the same score in the second set and then came up short in the super tiebreaker, 10-3. A super tiebreaker was also required at No. 3 singles in the match-up between Pons and Martinez. The sophomore fell, 6-2, in the initial set before bouncing back to stake the second set, 6-4. In the super tiebreaker, Martinez was derailed, 10-3.
Valdez locked up with Natal at No. 2 singles. The transfer battled only to lose the first set, 6-4. She went down in the second set, 6-2. Milena Baigorria was saddled with a 6-0, 6-0 setback at the hands of Boza at No. 6 singles.
The Miners will be back in action Saturday, playing at fellow Conference USA foe North Texas (2-2) at 11 a.m. MT/12 p.m. CT.
1. Momoka Horiguchi (UTA) def. Kirsten Prelle (UTEP) 3-6, 6-3, 10-3
2. Lucia Natal (UTA) def. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 6-4, 6-2
3. Carla Pons (UTA) def. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 6-2, 4-6, 10-3
4. Nanaka Takeuchi (UTA) def. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-3, 6-2
5. Rine Nozaki (UTEP) def. Carla Vives (UTA) 7-5, 5-7, 10-5
6. Almudena Boza (UTA) def. Milena Baigorria (UTEP) 6-0, 6-0
1. Kirsten Prelle/Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) vs. Lucia Natal/Nanaka Takeuchi (UTA) no result
2. Carla Pons/Momoka Horiguchi (UTA) def. Vanessa Valdez/Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) 6-4
3. Carla Vives/Almudena Boza (UTA) def. Erandi Martinez/Rine Nozaki (UTEP) 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (6,2,4,1,3,5)