“We have to play in these conditions all the time anyway, so I just told the team to focus more on their footwork and try to control the ball and control the points as much as possible,” head coach Ivan Fernandez said.
The UTEP tennis team slipped up against Conference USA opponent Western Kentucky in a neutral site match at the U of L Indoor Tennis Center on Saturday.
The Toppers got by the Miners 4-1 to move to 1-1 overall, 1-0 in C-USA play, while the Miners dropped to 2-2 and 0-1 in league play on the season.
“It was a very rough match today,” head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “WKU showed great composure and experience. We had several chances to win the doubles point but could not execute. In singles, we simply got outplayed. Our youth showed today but we certainly learned from the experience. We will continue to improve.”
The two league foes began the morning with a slate of doubles matches, with UTEP getting an edge on its competition due to a forfeit on court three due to WKU’s incomplete lineup. Lois Wagenvoort and Yvette Van Oijen clashed with WKU’s Moka Ito and Elpida Malamou at the no. 1 position, pushing the slate to extra points, but fell 7-5.
At the no. 2 spot., Miner tandem Milena Baigorria and Maria Paula Medina also kept the set close to fight for the doubles point against Natalia De Ugarte and Cindy Oest, but slipped 6-4, giving the doubles point to the Toppers.
Singles play saw Wagenvoort meeting with Malamou at the top of the lineup, but Malamou got by with a 6-1, 6-1 victory. At the no. 3 spot, Raven Bennett was turned away by WKU’s Violetta Shatalova 6-1, 6-1, and another Topper win at the no. 5 position, De Ugarte over Alisa Morozova by a score of 6-1, 6-0, ended the match.
Van Oijen’s battle with Ito on court two was left unfinished at a 6-4, 3-1 lead for WKU, as was Miner rookie Erandi Martinez’s showdown with Oest, which was left at 6-2, 4-1 with Oest leading. The Hilltoppers’ incomplete lineup left Medina with a win by forfeit at the no. 6 position.
The Miners were without Chloe Purkiss, who has seen action at both the no. 1 and no. 3 spot in the singles lineup, for the second time in as many days due to illness.
A six-match home-stand will commence when the Miners return to the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club to face Abilene Christian on Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.and Northern Arizona on Feb. 4 at 10 a.m. UTEP, who will be looking to remain undefeated at home, will not leave for another road match until March 12. Admission to all matches is free.