UTEP Tennis Falls To FIU In Opening Round Of C-USA Championships

Freshman Kirsten Prelle defeated Maryna Veksler in straight sets at No. 1 singles but 13th-seed UTEP was tripped up by fourth-seed FIU, 4-1, in the opening round of the 2019 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Women’s Tennis Championship on Thursday.

The Miners (7-14) conclude their campaign while the Panthers (11-7) advance to challenge fifth-seed North Texas at 1 p.m. MT Friday.

Prelle capped a stellar first season with the Orange and Blue at 22-8 overall (13-5 dual), aided by winning her final five matches.

“Kirsten (Prelle) played great in singles to get the only point,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “I’m super proud of her. She had a great season. We competed as well as we could, but it was not enough to beat No. four seed FIU.”

The contest commenced with doubles, with FIU taking the early lead by virtue of victories at the top two spots. Basak Akbas and Kamila Umarova snuck past Prelle and Valdez, 6-3, at No. 1 doubles. Kathleen Percegona and Yvette van Oijen were upended by Sandra Bozinovic and Maria Turrillo, 6-2, at No. 2 doubles. Rine Nozaki and Erandi Martinez were trailing, 5-3, against Veksler and Paulina Bakaite at No. 3 doubles when the match went unfinished with the doubles point decided.

Prelle took center stage in singles, rolling past Veksler, 6-3, 6-3, at the No. 1 position. The other matches, however, went in favor of the Panthers. Nozaki was downed by Bakaite, 6-3, 6-2, at No. 5 singles. The senior van Oijen fell, 6-1, 6-0, against Bozinovic at No. 4 singles while Martinez was derailed, 6-1, 6-0, by Umarova at No. 2 singles.

Milena Baigorria won her first set, 6-1, against Turrillo, and trailed, 4-3, in the second when it was stopped due to the team outcome being in the books. Percegona’s match against Akbas at No. 3 singles also went unfinished. The score stood at 6-1, 5-4, in favor of Akbas when it was halted.

Tennis Match Results  UTEP vs FIU Panthers  |  4/18/2019 at Houston, TX  | (George R. Brown Tennis Center)
FIU Panthers 4, UTEP 1
Singles competition
1. Kirsten Prelle (UTEP) def. Maryna Veksler (FIU) 6-3, 6-3
2. Kamila Umarova (FIU) def. Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 6-1, 6-0
3. Basak Akbas (FIU) vs. Kathleen Percegona (UTEP) 6-1, 5-4, unfinished
4. Sandra Bozinovic (FIU) def. Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) 6-1, 6-0
5. Paulina Bakaite (FIU) def. Rine Nozaki (UTEP) 6-3, 6-2
6. Maria Turrillo (FIU) vs. Milena Baigorria (UTEP) 1-6, 4-3, unfinished

Doubles competition
1. Basak Akbas/ Kamila Umarova (FIU) def. Kirsten Prelle/Vanessa Valdez (UTEP) 6-3
2. Sandra Bozinovic/ Maria Turrillo (FIU) def. Kathleen Percegona/Yvette Van Oijen (UTEP) 6-2
3. Maryna Veksler/ Paulina Bakaite (FIU) vs. Rine Nozaki/Erandi Martinez (UTEP) 5-3, unfinished

Match Notes:
UTEP 7-14
FIU Panthers 11-7
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (4,2,1,5)
2019 C-USA Championship

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