UNLV Wins Mountain West Tennis Tourney Title!|
April 28, 2013
LAS VEGAS(UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV women's tennis saved its best for last in the spring season as the same team that fell all of the way out of the national rankings earlier this month peaked in the shadow of Pike's Peak this week and won the program's fourth Mountain West Tournament Championship, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships along the way.
The second-seeded and 65th-ranked Lady Rebels avenged a 4-3 loss earlier in the year to top-seeded San Diego State and upset the No. 39 Aztecs 4-2 in Sunday's title match at the Air Force Academy Courts. UNLV improved to 19-7 overall while SDSU, which went undefeated in league play during the regular season, saw its 16-match winning streak snapped and suffered just its fifth loss in 27 overall outings.
For head coach Kevin Cory, who is in his 14th season in Las Vegas, it's championship number seven (four tournaments and three regular season) but the first in this postseason event since 2008. UNLV improved to 4-3 in MW finals and has won more than any active member of the league and has tied former members TCU and BYU for the most overall with four apiece. The Lady Rebels also improved to 2-0 vs. SDSU in the final as they won the previous meeting in 2002.
On Sunday morning, UNLV took a 1-0 lead after winning two of the three doubles matches. At the second spot Aleksandra Josifoska and Janine Erasmus downed Julia Wais and Kristin Buth 8-2. After SDSU won 8-3 at No. 3, the point would come down to court one and Lucia Battaand Nives Pavlovic got by Laura Antonana and Michela Casanova 8-5 to secure the lead.
In singles play, UNLV got on the board with yet another blazing-fast win from Ms. Automatic, 83rd-ranked Batta, at the second position. The junior doubled up Alicia Aguilar 6-3, 6-3 to improve her record in dual matches to a perfect 25-0 and her overall mark to 35-5, which moved her all alone into third place on UNLV's single-season wins list.
The Aztecs got on the board next by picking up their own straight-set win on court five. However, freshman Iren Kotsevacontinued her impressive spring with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Michela Casanova to raise her record to 21-11 and make it 3-1 in favor of UNLV.
MW Player of the Year Josifoska, who hasn't lost to a league opponent since 2011, fittingly clinched it for her team. Taking on senior Julia Wais, Josifoska won the first set 6-4 but was blanked in the second stanza to extend the match. The Lady Rebel junior finally ended it by winning 6-3 in the third to send UNLV into celebration mode. The win improved Josifoska's record to 33-7, good for a tie for the fifth most wins by a Lady Rebel.
"This was a great college tennis match between two evenly matched teams," Cory said. "We knew after losing by a point at their place that we'd be facing a tremendous challenge today. San Diego State has been a big rival of ours for many years and we expected nothing less than an intense battle.
"Winning the doubles point was crucial for us and gave us a lot of momentum heading into singles. We got off to a quick start, taking the first set on four courts, but then the Aztecs made a big run. I'm thrilled that our Mountain West Player of the Year was able to clinch it for us. She's a fighter and just refuses to lose."
UNLV will now turn its attention to the NCAA Championships, which get underway May 10. The Lady Rebels will be making their 11th all-time appearance at the team event, their sixth in the last seven years and ninth under Cory. UNLV will find out where it will be headed for the first and second rounds when the entire field is announced Tuesday afternoon.
UNLV WOMEN ALL-TIME MWC CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH RESULTS 2000, defeated BYU 5-2 2002, defeated San Diego State 4-2 2005, lost to BYU 4-2 2007, lost to BYU 4-0 2008, defeated TCU 4-2 2009, lost to TCU 4-1 2013, defeated San Diego State 4-1