Cougars split final two games of home series

Cougars fall to Arizona State, beat Utah, Arizona at home last week



Sophomore Pang Jittakoat celebrates after winning her singles match, clinching the victory against Arizona Sunday afternoon at the WSU Outdoor Tennis Courts.

ERIN MULLINS, Evergreen reporter

The WSU tennis team split the final two games of their three-game home stand this weekend after falling to the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday and defeating the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday.

After defeating the Utah Utes 4-1 on Thursday, WSU got a day off before losing to ASU 6-1 in Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

In doubles play, fifth-year Melisa Ates and junior Yang Lee racked up a 6-3 victory for the Cougars against Sammi Hampton and Marianna Argyrokastriti.  Then, senior Michaela Bayerlova and junior Hikaru Sato fell to Ilze Hattingh and Lauryn John-Baptiste 6-4.

The doubles point was sealed by Arizona State after Giulia Morlet and Domenika Turkovic won 7-6 against sophomore Pang Jittakoat and freshman Fifa Kumhom.

Singles play started with Ates falling to No. 115 Hampton 6-3, 6-4. After going down 2-0 in the event, junior Savanna Ly-Nguyen continued to shine as she improved her season record to 10-1 after beating Argyrokastriti 6-4, 6-2.

Arizona State never looked back after giving up their first point of the day, with Turkovic, John-Baptiste and Morlet all winning their singles matches to go up 5-1. Although Arizona State had already won, No. 55 Bayerlova and No. 37 Hattingh stayed in a locked-in battle on the No. 1 court. Eventually, Hattingh pulled out a narrow victory 6-3, 1-6, 7-6.

WSU head coach Lisa Hart said that she was proud of how her players fought hard despite the tough loss, but was disappointed that they couldn’t capitalize at different points throughout the match.

“I really felt like we kind of had the doubles point and we let it slip away,” Hart said. “That’s a huge momentum boost or downer, if you will. I was kind of bummed for us on that one, but I was proud of how the girls competed.”

The Cougars bounced back from the tough loss against Arizona State by following it with a 4-2 win over Arizona on Sunday. Their match against the Wildcats marked the first time this season the team played on the Outdoor Tennis Courts.

WSU came out strong by winning two out of their three doubles matches to earn the first point. It started off with Bayerlova and junior Sato defeating Gitte Heynemans and Khim Iglupas 6-1 in the first game. Next, the Cougars suffered their first loss after Jittakoat and Kumhom fell to Abby Amos and Kayla Wilkins 6-3.

Ates and Lee saved the point with a clutch 6-4 win over Jelena Lukic and Talya Zandberg to clinch the doubles victory for WSU.

In singles, Ly-Nguyen started the Cougars off with another singles win, making her 11-1 on the season. Her win was followed by a victory by Kunhom, the only freshman on the team.

“Fifa had a great win today; our freshman in singles,” Hart said. “And then Savanna at No. 5 singles, she has just been so consistent for us.”

After going up 3-0 on the day, the tide started to go in the direction of Arizona. Ates lost to Iglupas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and then Lukic beat Sato 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to make the match 3-2.

Jittakoat proved to be the hero in Sunday’s match with her 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 clinching victory over Zandberg to win the match for the Cougars. Bayerlova and Wilkins’ match went undecided due to the WSU win.

Hart said she is confident for the rest of the season after winning two out of the three at home this weekend.

“I feel better now than I have all year,” Hart said. “I think we continue to get a little bit better every day and we are staying healthy, so that is obviously a good thing.”

WSU tennis will stay home this week for one match with the Eastern Washington Eagles coming to Pullman. The match is set for 12 p.m. Saturday in Hollingbery Fieldhouse.