The UTEP tennis team put the finishing touches of a flawless weekend (three wins in as many tries) by trouncing Gonzaga, 7-0, at the El Paso Tennis Club Sunday afternoon. The Miners are now 6-1 on the season, their best start since 1999, while the Bulldogs slip to 2-2.
UTEP’s lone loss on the year came against No. 75 and Big 12 power Kansas, 4-3, on Jan. 31, but it has made that setback a distant memory thanks to five straight triumphs upon returning to the Sun City. The effort equals the best opening to a season for home matches in program annals. The only other team in school history to do so was the 1995 edition of the Miners, but this year’s squad has a chance to stand alone with two more home tilts on tap next week.
Four of the triumphs in 2009 have been of the 7-0 variety, which already stands as the second-highest sum of shutout wins for a single season in the school’s history. The program standard for that area is held by the 1991 Miners, who boasted six such victories.
Marina DeLuca and Weronika Bloczynska have been instrumental to UTEP’s blistering break of the gates, with each standing at 7-0 in dual-match play following respective wins against Gonzaga’s Danielle Farmer and Aglaya Kokurina. Bloczynska picked up a hard-fought 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 (10-3) while the junior rolled in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
Another factor has been the Miners’ play in doubles. They have secured the doubles point in every match this season, and are a combined 18-3 in dual-match doubles action.
“The success to the start of this year is attributed to hard work and great team chemistry,” UTEP head coach Jamie Campbell said. “Everybody is supporting each other, and I’m proud of the team’s efforts. They deserve the wins, but we need to keep things going.”
The Miners sent the message that it would be a long day for Gonzaga by picking up the doubles point by virtue of victories in No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. UTEP’s top tandem of Bloczynska/Megan Pritchard cruised past Rika Mehndiratta/Danielle Farmer, 8-3. Martina Trieweiler/Carolina DeLuca also were in good form, derailing Clare Dodge/Aglaya Kokurina, 8-4, at No. 2 doubles.
The Bulldogs managed to pick up a triumph in No. 3 doubles behind Kristina Zauere/Madeline Parker edging DeLuca/Ximena Fuentes, 8-5, but it was a moot point dule to the outcomes on the other courts.
Following a brief reprieve, the focus was switched to singles play, where the Miners would ensure a flawless day with triumphs on all six courts.
Senior Vicky Michaud, who was inserted in place of Fuentes due to an injury, mauled Parker, 6-1, 6-2, at No. 6 singles. Trierweiler secured her 10th triumph on the year, including her third in four attempts in dual-match action, by trouncing Mehndiratta 6-3, 6-1, at No. 2 singles.
Pritchard dug deep in her match to defeat Dodge, 7-5, 6-3, at No. 5 singles. Making her showing even more impressive was the fact she was fighting through an injury for most of the contest.
Freshman Carolina DeLuca also had to overcome some adversity, bouncing back from falling in the first set to Zauere, 7-6 (7-2) to claim the second set, 6-1, in No. 3 singles. With the team outcome already decided, a super tie breaker was used in lieu of the third set. DeLuca picked up the victory, 10-4.
In an exhibition match, Carla Murguia was dispatched by Madeline Edson-White, 6-1, 6-2.
1. Weronika Bloczynska (UTEP) def. Aglaya Kokurina (GU) 6-1, 5-7, 1-0 (10-3)
2. Martina Trieweiler (UTEP) def. Rika Mehndiratta (GU) 6-3, 6-1
3. Carolina DeLuca (UTEP) def. Kristina Zauere (GU) 6-7 (7-2), 6-1, 1-0 (10-4)
4. Marina DeLuca (UTEP) def. Danielle Farmer (GU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Megan Pritchard (UTEP) def. Clare Dodge (GU) 7-5, 6-3
6. Vicky Michaud (UTEP) def. Madeline Parker (GU) 6-1, 6-2
1. Weronika Bloczynska/Megan Pritchard (UTEP) def. Rika Mehndiratta/Danielle Farmer (GU) 8-3
2. Martina Trieweiler/Carolina DeLuca (UTEP) def. Clare Dodge/Aglaya Kokurina (GU) 8-4
3. Kristina Zauere/Madeline Parker (GU) def. Marina DeLuca/Ximena Fuentes (UTEP) 8-5