Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | UTEP Athletics
The UTEP tennis team was upended 5-2 by Utah State on Sunday afternoon at the El Paso Tennis Club, the Miners’ first action in two weeks following a COVID-19 shutdown of the program.
UTEP (1-4) was coming off a momentum-generating 4-3 victory at UNLV on Feb. 20. Shortly after, a positive case in the program prompted the cancellation of three home matches. The Miners lost six days of practice and didn’t return to the courts until Monday.
On Sunday, the Miners captured the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead on the Aggies (3-4). But conditioning was clearly a factor in singles as UTEP dropped five of six matches in straight sets. Utah State completed a Borderland sweep after knocking off NM State, 6-1, in El Paso on Saturday.
“As great as it was to get back on the court today, we could have used another few days to prepare for a team as solid as Utah State,” UTEP coach Ivan Fernandez said.
The Miners’ Thassane Abrahim and Veronika Lebisova polished off the Aggies’ Gabrielle Dekkers and Renata Lombera, 6-1, at no. 1 doubles. UTEP’s Lyric Bonilla and Kathleen Percegona topped USU’s Annaliese County and Carolina Millan, 7-6, at no. 3 doubles, to put the Miners in front 1-0.
“We started strong by winning the doubles point,” Fernandez said. “Vero [Lebisova] and Tuca [Abrahim] continue to win. Kell [Percegona] and Lyric clinched the point for us, coming back from 4-1 down.”
Highlighting the singles action was Lebisova taking down Utah State’s Dekkers, 6-3, 6-1 out of the no. 5 slot.
“We just couldn’t maintain our level of play in singles, but at least Veronika got her first Division I win,” Fernandez said.
The Miners will next host UTPB on Saturday, March 20 at noon.
“We will get back to work tomorrow and continue to prepare for the last half of our season,” Fernandez said.
Utah State 5 – UTEP 2
- Thassane Abrahim-Veronika Lebisova (UTEP) def. Gabrielle Dekkers-Renata Lombera (USU) 6-1
- Lisa Kung-Zara Ryan (USU) def. Eve Daniels-Vanessa Valdez UTEP) 6-4
- Lyric Bonilla-Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) def. Annaliese County-Carolina Millan (USU) 7-6
- Millan (USU) def. Valdez (UTEP) 6-1, 6-1
- Ryan (USU) def. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 7-5, 6-1
- Kung (USU) def. Lina Sachica (UTEP) 6-2, 6-3
- Lombera (USU) def. Percegona (UTEP) 6-4, 6-2
- Lebisova (UTEP) def. Dekkers (USU) 6-3, 6-1
- County (USU) def. Elena Dibattista (UTEP) 6-1, 6-3