LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The New Mexico State women’s tennis team was defeated 5-2 by the 58th-ranked team in the country, UNLV, Friday at the Fertitta Tennis Complex. The Aggies fall to 0-3 in spring play while the Runnin’ Rebels improve to 1-2.
The final score is not indicative of how close the match was as NM State battled one of the top teams in the country throughout the entire match. The Aggies won the doubles’ point and, although they only picked up one singles’ victory, were competitive in most of the singles matches.
NM State began the day by picking up two victories in doubles play to win the doubles’ point. The Aggie senior-freshman duo of Ros-Polly Nguyen and Brittany Collens defeated UNLV’s Aleksandra Josifoska and Iren Kotseva, 6-4, while senior Annemieke Witte and sophomore Ashvarya Shrivastava defeated the duo of Anett Ferenczi-Bako and Kamelia Dimitrova, 6-3.
“We got off to a strong start winning two of the three doubles and securing the doubles point,” Aggie head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “We had a lot of energy and played the best doubles that I have seen these girls play so far.”
NM State picked up one win in six singles matches as Shrivastava added a singles win to her doubles win after defeating Ferenczi-Bako in straight sets, 7-6, 6-0, at the No. 3 position. The No. 1 spot saw Aggie junior Susana Alcaraz lose to the 29th-ranked player in the nation, Lucia Batta, in straight sets 6-0, 6-1. Fellow junior Denise Van Der Ben also lost in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
Although UNLV also won the remaining three singles matches, all three were highly contested and could have gone either way. Collens lost in straight sets, but both sets went to 7-6. Witte, meanwhile, won her first set 6-4 before falling in the final two, with the final set ending up 10-6.
Yet, perhaps the best matchup of the day was the matchup at the No. 2 spot between Nguyen and Josifoska. Nguyen won the first set 6-3 and was up in the second 5-0. With Nguyen one game away from victory, Josifoska, who happens to be the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, made an incredible comeback, winning the next seven games to take the second set 7-5. The two competitors fiercely battled in the final set until, unfortunately for the Aggies, Nguyen came up short, losing 10-7.
“In the singles we won three of the first six sets,” Fernandez said. “Unfortunately we were not able to close out any of the singles matches other than No. 4 Ash Shrivastava. As you can see from the scores, this match could have really gone either way as we battled extremely hard across all six courts.”
NM State will now prepare to take on UC Riverside on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Fertitta Tennis Complex before meeting Pacific on Sunday, Feb. 9. Both matches are set for an 11 a.m. (MT) start. The two teams squared off on Friday with Pacific getting the easy victory, 7-0. The UC Riverside (0-4) loss on Friday means that they, like the Aggies, will be looking for their first victory of the spring season on Saturday. Friday’s results give NM State a lot of optimism heading into the weekend.
“The fact that we put ourselves in a position to compete this well against an experienced nationally-ranked team goes to show that our young team is going to keep improving with every match,” Fernandez said. “I am very optimistic in what the future has in store for this Aggie team.”
#58 UNLV 5, New Mexico State 2
1. Lucia Batta (UNLV) def. Susana Alcaraz (NMSU) 6-0, 6-1
2. Aleksandra Josifoska (UNLV) def. Ros-Polly Nguyen (NMSU) 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-7)
3. Santa Shumilina (UNLV) def. Denise Van Der Ben (NMSU) 6-3, 6-4
4. Ashvarya Shrivastava (NMSU) def. Anett Ferenczi-Bako (UNLV) 7-6, 6-0
5. Iren Kotseva (UNLV) def. Annemieke Witte (NMSU) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (10-6)
6. Kamelia Dimitrova (UNLV) def. Brittany Collens (NMSU) 7-6, 7-6
1. Lucia Batta/Santa Shumilina (UNLV) def. Susana Alcaraz/Denise Van Der Ben (NMSU) 6-3
2. Ros-Polly Nguyen/Brittany Collens (NMSU) def. Aleksandra Josifoska/Iren Kotseva (UNLV) 6-4
3. Annemieke Witte/Ashvarya Shrivastava (NMSU) def. Anett Ferenczi-Bako/Kamelia Dimitrova (UNLV) 6-3