The UTEP tennis team will square off against Division II member Western New Mexico in its 2019 dual-match opener at the El Paso Tennis Club at 12 p.m. MT Saturday.
“After two weeks of practice we are ready to finally begin competing,” UTEP head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “The team has been working extremely hard in practice and they are very excited to get started. We are looking forward to getting our newcomer Kathleen (Percegona) on the court. I have been very impressed with the play of Erandi (Martinez) and Vanessa (Valdez) the last couple of weeks. Yvette (Van Oijen), who is coming off an injury, has made tremendous strides to recover and is also ready to play. It will be great to see how we compete as a team and to kick off our spring season.”
Admission is free, and there will be a free clinic with the team following the match.
It is the first of 19 dual matches on tap in the spring for the Miners, with seven slated for home. The other home contests include match-ups with UTSA (Feb. 22), the University of Central Oklahoma (Feb. 23), Utah State (Feb. 24), Boise State (April 5), UT-Tyler (April 6) and NM State (April 13).
Saturday’s match marks the second straight year that the Orange and Blue will open up the spring against the Lady Mustangs. UTEP posted a pair of 7-0 wins to start the season strong on Jan. 20, 2018.
Freshman Kirsten Prelle paced the Miners in the fall tournament season, posting a team-best singles record of 9-3. She won six straight matches at one point, including taking home a singles title at the Aggie Fall Invite. Fellow classmate Percegona arrived at UTEP in January, and will look to follow in her footsteps. Martinez and Valdez both picked up four wins in the fall while Nozaki secured three.
Following the match with WNMU, UTEP will take to the road to lock up with UT-Arlington (Feb. 1) and North Texas (Feb. 2).