The UTEP tennis team pushed its winning streak to two with a 5-2 victory against No. 11 (Division II) Central Oklahoma at the El Paso Tennis Club Saturday afternoon.
The Miners (3-5) rallied to win the doubles point against the Bronchos (2-2) before getting singles victories from Kirsten Prelle, Vanessa Valdez, Erandi Martinez and Yvette Van Oijen to cap the team triumph.
“This match was a challenge from start to finish,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “To come back from behind to win No. 3 doubles in a tiebreaker really set the way for the singles. UCO really pushed us all the way from beginning to end. Yvette (Van Oyen) played another solid match in singles. Kirsten (Prelle) had a great match, coming back from down in the second set to close out her match in straight sets. Erandi (Martinez) clinched the match for us today. She fought extremely hard and her resolve was impressive. It was also great to have Vane (Vanessa Valdez) back playing like I knew she could. I’m very proud of these girls in how they have grown and improved this semester. We have another tough match tomorrow. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”
The match began with doubles where UCO’s Paola Landin and Isabella Dunlap clipped Prelle and Kathleen Percegona, 6-3, at No. 1 doubles. The Miners struck back with Valdez and Van Oijen toppling Kirtana Bhat and Adel Abidullina, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles. UTEP then used a 7-6 come-from-behind victory by Martinez and Rine Nozaki against Nikki Boyar/Sarah Van Eeckhoudt at No. 3 doubles to secure the doubles point.
Percegona was bounced by Boyar, 6-0, 6-1, at No. 5 singles while Landin dispatched Nozaki, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 4 singles. The Orange and Blue took care of business on all of the other courts on the way to posting the 5-2 win.
At No. 1 singles Prelle continued her winning ways by besting Abidullina, 6-4, 7-5. Valdez won the first set against Dunlap, 6-3, before dropping the second set, 6-3. The transfer then won the super tiebreaker, 10-5, to take home the triumph at No. 2 singles.
Martinez downed Bhat, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 3 singles while Van Oyen cruised past Van Eeckhoudt, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 6 singles.
UTEP will look to make it three wins in as many days when it plays host to Utah State at 10 a.m. MT Sunday. There will be free admission to the match.
Central Oklahoma vs UTEP 2/23/2019 at El Paso Tennis Club
UTEP 5, Central Oklahoma 2
1. Kirsten Prelle (UTEP) def. Adel Abidullina (UCO) 6-4, 7-5
2. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) def. Isabella Dunlap (UCO) 6-3, 3-6, 10-5
3. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) def. Kirtana Bhat (UCO) 6-4, 6-4
4. Paola Landin (UCO) def. Rine Nozaki (UTEP) 6-1, 6-4
5. Nikki Boyar (UCO) def. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-0, 6-1
6. Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) def. Sarah Van Eeckhoudt (UCO) 6-4, 6-1
1. Paola Landin/Isabella Dunlap (UCO) def. Kirsten Prelle/Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-3
2. Vanessa Valdez/Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) def. Kirtana Bhat/Adel Abidullina (UCO) 6-2
3. Erandi Martinez/Rine Nozaki (UTEP) def. Nikki Boyar/Sarah Van Eeckhoudt (UCO) 7-6
Central Oklahoma 2-2
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (5,6,4,1,3,2)