|Women's tennis wins thriller|
EL PASO, Texas - The Idaho women's tennis team notched its third straight win on Sunday, this time knocking off University of Alabama-Birmingham in a 4-3 thriller.
With Idaho trailing 3-2 and only No. 1 and No. 6 singles still to be decided, Natalie Kirch trailed 5-3 in the third set at No. 6. But she kept fighting, and roared back to win four straight games and take the point with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory.
"Natalie really stepped up big today," Idaho coach Tyler Neill said. "Her match was as exciting as it gets. After the first set, she was completely determined to pull out a victory. To fight off a match point with the team match on the line takes a lot heart."
After Kirch's victory, Victoria Lozano's No. 1 singles match against UAB's Giorgia Romeo would either clinch the match for the Vandals, or give UAB the 4-3 edge. And after a 7-6 loss in the second set to force a third, Lozano was able to regroup and pull out a 6-2 win to clinch the match for the Vandals.
"This was a big win for us today," Neill said. "We had some players really step up today and fight for some tough wins. UAB is a really tough team with a lot of talent."
Lozano finished a stellar week going 3-0 at No. 1 singles, and 3-0 at No. 1 doubles, as the Vandals went 3-0 on the week.
In addition to wins from Kirch and Lozano, the Vandals earned the doubles point with 3-0 sweep, as Lozano and Lauren Simpson won 8-2 at No. 1 doubles, Yvette Ly and Molly Knox won 8-3 at No. 2, and Barbara Maciocha and Kirch won 8-4 at No. 3. Maciocha also won at No. 3 singles, 6-1; 6-3.
"I thought we played very good doubles across the board," Neill said. "We were aggressive and controlled the flow of the points."
The Vandals picked up their third win in as many days, despite holding Simpson and Ly out of the singles lineup due to injury. Idaho improves to 7-3 on the season with the win.
Idaho has its fourth match in four days on Monday at New Mexico State. The Vandals will have a similar trip in two weeks, as they face University of Hawai'i-Hilo, Hawai'i, Louisiana Tech and Chaminade March 31-April 3 in Hawai'i.
University of Idaho vs. University of Alabama-Birmingham
March 13, 2011 - El Paso, TX
FINAL: UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO 4 - UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM 3