The UTEP tennis team will conclude its regular-season slate with two matches this weekend, first hosting Texas A&M-Kingsville on April 13, then meeting with rival NM State in Las Cruces, NM on April 14.
First serve against the Javelinas on Friday is set for 12 p.m. at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club, while the Interstate-10 foes will meet at 2 p.m. at the NMSU Tennis Center. Both matches are free.
“This team has really shown a lot of courage and heart,” head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “Although we are playing shorthanded due to injuries out of our control, I know they will fight with everything they have to represent UTEP the best way possible. We will try our hardest in our final matches of the spring and control what we can.”
UTEP (6-13, 0-5 C-USA) wrapped up a two-match stand in San Antonio last weekend, falling against league foes UTSA and LA Tech while also sacrificing points from an incomplete lineup due to injuries. However, freshman Erandi Martinez reached 20 wins after taking down the Roadrunners’ Ivana Ilic in a 6-1, 6-1 fashion. Martinez, who has a 4-1 mark at the no. 4 spot in singles action this spring, moved to 20-10 on the year and a 10-5 record in dual match play. The Miners also got strong play from their top doubles tandem in Lois Wagenvoort and Raven Bennett. The pair notched a dominating 6-2 win over LA Tech’s Karla De La Luz and Andrea Perez-Lopez during doubles action.
TAMUK (11-10, 3-2 LSC), creeped into the top-50 of the Oracle/ITA Division II Women’s Rankings, checking in at no. 47 as of April 4. Friday’s match will mark the first-ever meeting between the Miners and Javelinas since the program was created at TAMUK in 2011. The Javelinas are riding a three-match winning streak after taking out Laredo, UT Permian Basin and Angelo State in their road swing. The team has seen steady play from junior Phonephathep Philavong, who tallied a 3-0 mark at the no. 2 position in the lineup during the road trip.
NM State (7-14, 2-3 WAC) has dropped its last four matches, but garnered a 4-3 win over Grand Canyon on March 25. The last time the two foes met was April 14, 2017, at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club, where the Aggies edged the Miners 4-3. Pacing NM State is Yadira Rubio, who has posted a team-best 10 wins in dual match play, including a 7-8 mark at the no. 4 position in singles action.
Close behind is Lindsay Harlas, who has a 9-8 mark in the spring with shared time at both the no. 2 and no. 3 spot. The pair make up the no. 1 doubles team for the Aggies, earning a 4-8 record this spring.
The Miners will be celebrating Wagenvoort prior to first serve on Friday in honor of Senior Day. Wagenvoort arrived at UTEP in 2014 and made an immediate impact in the Miner lineup, finishing her rookie year with 10 wins. Success followed her into her sophomore and junior year, as she tallied a combined 25 wins.
This year, she has helped the Miners to six team wins, playing primarily at the no. 1 position. With 37 total wins in her career as a Miner as of April 7, Lois ranks in the program’s top-10 in most career singles wins while also ranking no. 9 in career doubles wins with 40 triumphs.
“It is always bittersweet when it comes to Senior Day,” Fernandez said. “While we are sad that their collegiate career is coming to an end, they are beginning the rest of their lives. I wish that I had been able to coach Lois all four years. She has been a great asset to the team and we will miss her tremendously. I want to thank her for her willingness to accept me as her coach in her final year of tennis.”