LAS VEGAS, NEV. - Utah State women's tennis (13-10, 2-3 MW) defeated San Diego State (5-18, 04 MW) in the first round of the Mountain West Championship, 4-2, on Thursday. With the win, the Aggies have won a conference tournament match in three consecutive seasons, a feat not accomplished since 2001-03 in the Big West.
"After a very disappointing doubles point, I was really happy with how we competed in the 1-through-6 singles spots," said USU head coach Sean McInerney. "I was really proud of how Sabrina Demerath stepped up after dropping the first set to seal the win for us. We are very excited for the opportunity to play a very good UNLV team tomorrow."
The match started with doubles play, and SDSU's duo of Paola Diaz and Jana Buth defeated junior Maggie O'Meara and sophomore Monika Van de Vondel at the first position, 6-3. Then, USU's tandem of sophomore Jenna Kane and freshman Lucy Octave evened the doubles competition with a 6-4 win against Taylor Lederman and Olivia Larsson at the third position.
With the doubles score tied, the point came down to the second position where USU's team of senior Nini Guensler and junior Sabrina Demerath forced a tiebreaker at 6-6 against Mia Smith and Kennedy Davis. However, the Aztecs claimed the point with a 7-6 (7) win to go up 1-0 in the dual match.
The teams then turned to singles, and Van de Vondel quickly tied the match when she defeated Lederman at the No. 4 spot in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Then, the Aggies and Aztecs traded points as Guensler fell at the No. 1 spot against Buth, 6-2, 6-4, while Octave swept past Diaz at the No. 3 spot, 6-3, 6-3.
Freshman Hannah Jones then set a single-season school record when she won her 29th singles match of the year, defeating Larsson at the No. 6 spot, 7-6 (5), 6-0. With the Aggies leading 3-2, the final two singles matches all went to decisive third sets. At the No. 5 spot, Demerath outlasted Smith, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, to clinch the win for the Aggies, 4-2.
Utah State returns to action at the MW Championship tomorrow when they face host and top-seeded UNLV at 11 a.m. (MT).
Fans can follow USU's women's tennis team on Twitter @USUWomensTennis, on Facebook at UtahStateWomensTennis or on Instagram @USUWTennis. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.
No. 8 Utah State 4, No. 9 San Diego State 2
1. Paola Diaz/Jana Buth (SDSU) def. Monika Van de Vondel/Maggie O'Meara (USU) 6-3
2. Mia Smith/Kennedy Davis (SDSU) def. Sabrina Demerath/Nini Guensler (USU) 7-6 (7)
3. Jenna Kane/Lucy Octave (USU) def. Taylor Lederman/Olivia Larsson (SDSU) 6-4
Singles 1. Jana Buth (SDSU) def. Nini Guensler (USU) 6-2, 6-4 2. Ekaterina Tugarinova (USU) vs. Kennedy Davis (SDSU) 7-5, 1-6, 3-4, unfinished 3. Lucy Octave (USU) def. Paola Diaz (SDSU) 6-3, 6-3 4. Monika Van de Vondel (USU) def. Taylor Lederman (SDSU) 6-4, 6-2 5. Sabrina Demerath (USU) def. Mia Smith (SDSU) 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 6. Hannah Jones (USU) def. Olivia Larsson (SDSU) 7-6 (5), 6-0
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