The new-look UTEP tennis team started the 2020 spring season in fine fashion, dominating Western New Mexico 7-0 on Saturday afternoon at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club.
The Miners, with a roster of 11 student-athletes including eight newcomers, secured the doubles point then swept six singles matches, all in straight sets.
“We started out a little slow at number one doubles, but two and three really stepped it up and won fairly easily,” UTEP coach Ivan Fernandez said. “The first match is always a tough one, just because we’re trying to get the nerves out of the way and get the cobwebs out. But we really came together as a team and were able to win all six singles. I’m really proud of this group and I really do feel that as the season goes on, we’re just going to get better and better.”
The Miner doubles tandem of Maria Aveiga and Kathleen Percogona was the first to finish on court three, taking down the Mustangs’ Emma Oropeza and Julia Terrazas 6-1.
After WNMU notched a 6-1 triumph at no. 1 doubles, UTEP’s Eve Daniels and Lina Sáchica breezed past WNMU’s Kajsa Gedlitschka and Nicold Gonzalez 6-1 at no. 2 doubles to give the Miners the 1-0 lead entering the singles competition.
There was little drama in singles, as Vanessa Valdez (No. 1), Erandi Martinez (no. 2), Sáchica (no. 3), Daniels (no. 4), Percegona (no. 5) and Elena Dibattista (no. 6) all overwhelmed their opponents.
Sáchica and Daniels were the most dominant, dropping a combined three points to WNMU’s Nicold Gonzalez and Julia Terrazas, respectively. Their efforts helped UTEP forge a 3-0 lead, and Dibattista clinched the team win with a 6-3, 6-3 conquest of Emma Oropeza.
“Abilene Christian and New Mexico are going to be very tough matches,” Fernandez said. “They’re both very good teams. We lost to both of them last year and we’re looking to turn that around. I think as long as we compete hard and play together, we have an opportunity against both teams. Our depth is what is going to get us through this season. I have a lot of confidence in the team that we’ve built.”
The Miners (1-0) will continue their season-opening three-match homestand by taking on Abilene Christian next Saturday (Feb. 1) and long-time rival New Mexico next Sunday (Feb. 2) at the El Paso Tennis & Swim Club.
Both matches will start at noon. Admission is free for all UTEP home tennis matches.
UTEP 7 – Western New Mexico 0
1. Camila Gomez/Julia Tozzi (WNMU) def. Elena Dibattista/Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 6-1
2. Eve Daniels/Lina Sáchica (UTEP) def. Kajsa Gedlitschka/Nicold Gonzalez (WNMU) 6-1
3. Maria Aveiga/Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) def. Emma Oropeza/Julia Terrazas (WNMU) 6-1
Doubles Order of Finish: 3,1,2
1. V. Valdez (UTEP) d. J. Tozzi (WNMU) 6-3, 6-3
2. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) d. C. Gomez (WNMU) 6-1, 6-2
3. L. Sáchica (UTEP) d. N. Gonzalez (WNMU) 6-2, 6-0
4. E. Daniels (UTEP) d. J. Terrazas (WNMU) 6-0, 6-1
5. K. Percegona (UTEP) d. K. Gedlitschka (WNMU) 6-2, 6-3
6. E. Dibattista (UTEP) d. E. Oropeza (WNMU) 6-3, 6-3
Singles Order of Finish: 3,4,6,5,2,1
Records: UTEP 1-0, Western New Mexico 0-1