HOUSTON – Vanessa Valdez rallied to pick up a victory in three sets but a short-handed UTEP tennis team was defeated at Houston, 6-1, Wednesday afternoon.
The Miners (4-11) were without the services of No. 1 player Kirsten Prelle, resulting in the line-up being mixed up. UTEP battled, but couldn’t get it done as the Cougars (11-4) won their sixth straight match.
“We lost, 6-1, without having Kirsten (Prelle). Vane (Vanessa Valdez) fought back to win in three sets at No. 1 singles,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “I’m very proud of the effort we put out there today. We represented UTEP with pride.”
Rine Nozaki and Erandi Martinez were toppled by Ndindi Ndunda and Sophie Gerits, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles. Valdez and Milena Baigorria fell by the identical score at the No. 3 slot to Jovana Vukovic/Phonexay Chitdara. Yvette Van Oijen and Kathleen Percegona’s match at No. 1 doubles went unfinished. The duo trailed Mimi Kendall-Woseley and Elena Tairyan, 5-3, when it was halted due to the doubles point being decided.
Valdez stole the show for the Orange and Blue in singles play. Moving up to the top slot to play in place of Prelle, she lost the first set, 6-2. Valdez regrouped to take the second set, 6-4, and then locked up the victory with a 10-4 outcome in the super tiebreaker.
UTEP was unable to get things going in the other matches, with Houston successfully defending its home court. Martinez was bested by Kendall-Woseley, 6-3, 6-1, at No. 2 singles. Van Oijen came up short against Tairyan, 6-2, 6-2, at No. 4 singles.
Baigorria was tripped up by Chitdara, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5 singles. Nozaki fell, 6-0, 6-1, against Stephanie Belovukovic at No. 6 singles. Percegona was toppled by Vukovic, 6-0, 6-0, at No. 3 singles.
After playing three matches in four days, the Miners will now be off until they compete at Northern Arizona at 3 p.m. on March 30. UTEP will then square off against Portland State in a neutral-site match (Flagstaff, Ariz.) at 10 a.m. on March 31.
UTEP at Houston 3/20/2019 at Houston, Texas
Houston 6, UTEP 1
1. Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) def. Ndindi Ndunda (UH) 2-6, 6-4, 10-4
2. Mimi Kendall-Woseley (UH) def. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 6-3, 6-1
3. Jovana Vukovic (UH) def. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-0, 6-0
4. Elena Tairyan (UH) def. Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) 6-2, 6-2
5. Phonexay Chitdara (UH) def. Milena Baigorria (UTEP) 6-1, 6-1
6. Stephanie Belovukovic (UH) def. Rine Nozaki (UTEP) 6-0, 6-1
1. Mimi Kendall-Woseley/Elena Tairyan (UH) vs. Yvette Van Oijen/Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 5-3, unf
2. Ndindi Ndunda/Sophie Gerits (UH) def. Rine Nozaki/Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 6-2
3. Jovana Vukovic/Phonexay Chitdara (UH) def. Vanessa Valdez/Milena Baigorria (UTEP) 6-2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,5,6,4,2,1)