“Considering the conditions and having to get up earlier than scheduled and play in the wind, I couldn’t be more proud,” head coach Ivan Fernandez said. “The girls fought hard and we made the best of it. The early morning wasn’t much of a problem it was just the high winds that got us. Having to start three singles matches and then having to put on the other singles matches right after is not a format we are used to playing in. All of the changes were the same for both teams, so there was no advantage either way. We knew that we were going to have to come out fighting against a good team like UTPA and we came in with a lot of confidence today and we were pretty certain about the win.”
Due to projected high winds in the afternoon all semifinal matches began at 7:30 a.m. with singles being played first, followed by the doubles matches if needed. The Aggies the No. 2, No. 4 and No. 6 singles played first, followed by the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 singles. No doubles matches were necessary for the Aggies to advance to Sunday’s finals.
The Aggies took an early 2-0 lead on UTPA, as No. 2 singles player junior Susana Alcaraz won in straight sets over Wanda Beguelin, 7-6, 6-0, as NM State’s No. 6 singles player freshman Brittany Collens also won in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2 over Christel Amsallem.
UTPA then tied it up at 2-2 as No. 3 singles junior Denise Van Der Ben and No. 4 singles senior Annemieke Witte each fell in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3 and 7-5, 6-4 respectively.
Senior Ros-Polly Nguyen battled UTPA’s Mariana Ranzahuer in the No. 5 singles match, as Nguyen pulled out a hard fought three-set match win, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5, giving NM State a 3-2 advantage with one singles match to play.
The Aggies No. 1 singles player Ashvarya Shrivastava took an early one set lead over UTPA’s Didi Fatchikova, winning 6-3. The second was tied at 6-6 and went into a tie breaker to decide the match. Shrivastava battled the entire way, winning the tie breaker 11-9, sending NM State into the finals on Sunday, winning 6-3, 7-6.
“Every time we go out on the court we know that everyone has a job to do,” Fernandez said. “The fact that everyone fought hard today although we couldn’t win all of the matches was enough to get the four points out of six, which put us in the best position to win. The fact is we are coming into this next match on a five game winning spree which allows us to play with a lot of confidence. We are going to be hard to beat tomorrow.”
The Aggies will face the No. 1 seed Idaho in Sunday’s championship match, which begins at 8 a.m. at the NM State Tennis Center. Admission is FREE to the event.
No. 3 New Mexico State vs No. 2 UTPA – 4-2 (NM State)
NM State UTPA
#1 Ashvarya Shrivastava vs Didi Fatchikova – 6-3, 7-6 (NM State)
#2 Susana Alcaraz vs Wanda Beguelin – 7-6, 6-0 (NM State)
#3 Denise Van Der Ben vs Katiai Stavroulaki – 6-3, 6-3 (UTPA)
#4 Annemieke Witte vs Reegan Greenwood – 7-5, 6-4 (UTPA)
#5 Ros-Polly Nguyen vs Mariana Ranzahuer – 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 (NM State)
#6 Brittany Collens vs Christel Amsallem – 6-1, 6-2 (NM State)