After a dominating victory against UT-Permian Basin on February 10, the UTEP tennis team will return to the court when it takes on NCAA Division II No. 21 Tarleton State on Sunday, February 25, at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club. First serve against the TexAnns is set for 10 a.m. MST.
“We’re just trying to play a lot and get used to competing again,” head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “I think its a little bit of a disadvantage for us to have last weekend off and not be able to play, but this week we started out pretty strong. We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning, playing a lot of points, and we know we’re going to have to play better than we did against UTPB in order to win. Unfortunately I don’t think we’re going to have our full lineup again, so that’s still something that we’ve been battling through, but everybody thats in the lineup is healthy and ready to go.”
The Miners (3-4 overall, 0-1 C-USA) are coming off a convincing 7-0 win over the Falcons, where they only dropped one match on the day in doubles play, but swept the Falcons in singles play without dropping a set.
The young UTEP squad found success in doubles play when they last took the court. The tandem of Milena Baigorria and Yvette van Oijen as well as fellow Miner pair Lois Wagenvoort and Maria Paula Medina each earned their first win in doubles. Another strong pair in Chloe Purkiss and Raven Bennett lead the Miners with two wins in doubles play.
With her straight-set victory over her UTPB opponent, freshman Erandi Martinez earned her fourth singles win in dual-match play to pace UTEP while Purkiss and Medina notched their third victory each in the spring. Wagenvoort, who has manned the top singles position for the Miners, picked up her second win in dual match play after squeezing out a 7-6, 6-1 win over UTPB’s Fernanda Orona, while Bennett and Baigorria matched her win total as well with victories of their own.
Tarleton State (2-0 overall, 0-0 LSC), earned close wins over Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State to open up its season, and will meet with New Mexico State on Saturday prior to its meeting with UTEP. Last season, the TexAnns fell in the LSC title game to Midwestern State, but earned a bid to the NCAA tournament before suffering a 5-1 loss to St. Mary’s.
The TexAnns return two players, Alicia Barbaroux and Erika Johnston, from last years’ squad while featuring four newcomers. In doubles play, the TexAnn tandem in Barbaroux and freshman Sherine Salem and teammates Neetika Sud and Shelby Fillingame are undefeated, with both pairs earning a 2-0 record.
Sud, playing the no. 2 spot in singles play, Salem, who plays the no. 3, and Fillingame, at the no. 4, each rolled through opening weekend with a 2-0 mark to pace Tarleton State.
Admission to the match is free, and UTEP will be celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day prior to the match by giving away NGWSD bags, free UTEP tennis team posters, and serving a light breakfast for fans.