|Vandal women advance to semis|
DENVER – The Idaho women’s tennis team has reached the Western Athletic Conference semifinals after a 4-2 quarterfinal win over UT Arlington on Thursday.
"It was a great match,” Idaho coach Myriam Sopel said. “We knew it was going to be tough. We played them two weeks ago and lost in a very tight 4-2 loss. The match was so close last time that we knew that if we kept fighting and doing the right things, we were going to win this one.”
The Vandals got the early lead with wins at No. 1 doubles from Victoria Lozano and Almudena Sanz and No. 3 doubles from Rita Bermudez and Beaty Flores.
“Today we proved again that we can beat anybody in the conference,” Sopel said. “We gave our heart out from the first point on to get a crucial doubles point. We saved four match points at number 1 doubles to win the doubles point. That was huge. The confidence and the momentum from winning the doubles point definitely carried over into singles play.”
UTA tied the match by winning the first singles match, a 6-1, 6-2 win from Verena Scott over Belen Barcenilla, but the Vandals got a 6-1, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles from Victoria Lozano at No. 1 and a 6-3, 6-2 win from Constance Alexander at No. 3 to pull ahead 3-1. UTA’s Christine Foote won 0-6, 6-0, 6-2 at No. 6 singles to make it 3-2 but Flores sealed the win for Idaho with a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) win at No. 4. With the win, Idaho avenges a 4-2 loss at UTA earlier in the month.
“It was actually great to play UTA again in the tournament,” Sopel said of the rematch. “You usually don't get a chance to get revenge against a team you lost against earlier in the season. We knew what to expect because we already played them, and we put our best game forward right away, from the first point on.”
The fifth-seeded Vandals will face top-seed Denver in Friday’s semifinal, beginning at 1 p.m. (PT). Idaho improves to 13-11 on the season with the win. Denver went 8-0 in WAC play and 16-3 overall, beating Idaho 6-1 in March.
“Denver is ranked, and they get to play at home, but we are at the peak of our level, we play our best tennis, and we are so eager to win that we can beat anybody,” Sopel said. “When there is a will, there is a way."