The UTEP tennis team dominated from start to finish in a 6-1 defeat of No. 7 NCAA Division II Abilene Christian at the El Paso Tennis Club Friday afternoon. The Miners move to 14-6 on the campaign while the Wildcats slip to 19-4.
UTEP is now just two wins shy of matching the 1995 squad for the most in the program’s history. By virtue of the victory, the Miners improve to a program-best 9-1 in the Sun City. The prior standard for home triumphs was eight, which was shared by the 2002 and 2007 edition of the Orange and blue.
Furthermore, Weronika Bloczynska, Megan Pritchard and Vicky Michaud have locked up the title as the winningest class in program annals heading into the “Senior Day” showdown against UAB at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The Miners have racked up 42 victories since the start of the 2006 dual-match campaign, eclipsing the combined 41 wins from 1995-98.
“It was a great win,” head coach Jamie Campbell said. “Abilene Christian is always a very good team. They run down everything and have a reputation of being a feisty team which never gives up. We won the important points.”
UTEP burst out of the gates and took the early lead as result of triumphs at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles. The Tigers managed to pick up a win on the final court, but it proved to be a moot point.
Pritchard/Martina Trieweiler set the tone for the match by waxing Irene Squillaci/Jaclyn Walker, 8-1, at the top slot. Pritchard has now been a part of 20 double wins on the campaign, which rates tied as the fifth most in a single season by a Miner.
Marina DeLuca/Ximena Fuentes raced out to a 7-2 lead and looked to be in good shape against Dina Pavlin/Cassie Carver at No. 2 doubles, but the Wildcats’ pairing had other ideas. Abilene Christian’s tandem secured the ensuing six games en route to staking an 8-7 edge. Undeterred by the sudden sequence, the DeLuca/Fuentes forced a tie breaker by breaking the Wildcats’ serve. In the tie breaker, the Orange and Blue rolled to the tune of 7-3.
Sarah Drummond/Lauren White held off Carolina DeLuca/Michaud 8-5, at No. 3 doubles, but UTEP still ventured into the break armed with the 1-0 lead.
The Orange and Blue continued to control the match in singes action, as they picked up wins at No. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles.
Bloczynska faced some early adversity in her match against Squillaci, dropping the first set by a score of 6-3. The senior stormed back in a big way, though, by securing the final two sets by counts of 6-3, and 6-0, respectively.
Trierweiler was tripped up by Drummond, 7-6 (8-6) in the first set at No. 2 singles. Rather than risk further agitating an injury, Trierweiler retired.
Carolina DeLuca drilled Walker 7-5, 6-3 at No. 3 singles while her elder sister was in top form at No. 4 singles vs. Pavlin. Marina DeLuca derailed her foe, 7-5, in the opening set before destroying Pavlin, 6-1, to cap the match.
Pritchard challenged Carver, at No. 5 singles, and the senior was strong throughout. Pritchard bounced Carver, 6-1, in the initial set. She cruised to the triumph after bouncing Carver, 6-4, in the final set.
Fuentes faced off against Friend at No. 6 singles, and she also emerged victorious. The sophomore held off Friend, 7-5, in the first set before elevating her intensity in the second set. Fuentes drilled her, 6-2.
A pair of exhibition matches were also contested, with Michaud downing White, 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-5).
Freshman Carla Murguia wasn’t as fortunate in her tilt vs. Sandra Vucic, though things looked promising early on. Murguia waxed Vucic, 6-2, in the first set, but her foe struck back to claim the second set, 6-3. In the final super breaker, Vucic edged out the native of El Paso, 1-0 (11-9).
UTEP 6, Abilene Christian 1
1. Weronika Bloczynska (UTEP) def. Irene Squillaci (ACU) 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
2. Sarah Drummond (ACU) def. Martina Trieweiler (UTEP) 7-6 (8-6), retired
3. Carolina DeLuca (UTEP) def. Jaclyn Walker (ACU) 7-5, 6-3
4. Marina DeLuca (UTEP) def. Dina Pavlin (ACU) 7-5, 6-1
5. Megan Pritchard (UTEP) def. Cassie Carver (ACU) 6-1, 6-4
6. Ximena Fuentes (UTEP) def. Natalie Friend (ACU) 7-5, 6-2
1. Megan Pritchard/Martina Trieweiler (UTEP) def. Irene Squillaci/Jaclyn Walker (ACU) 8-1
2. Marina DeLuca/Ximena Fuentes (UTEP) def. Dina Pavlin/Cassie Carver (ACU) 9-8 (7-3)
3. Sarah Drummond/Lauren White (ACU) def. Carolina DeLuca/Vicky Michaud (UTEP) 8-5