Tennis team will have opportunity to continue hot streak

Junior+Maria+Biryukova+prepares+to+return+the+ball+against+Boise+State+at+Hollingberry+Fieldhouse%2C+Saturday%2C+Jan.+24%2C+2015.+The+tennis+team+hosts+a+triple-header%2C+Friday%2C+Jan.+30%2C+2015.

Junior Maria Biryukova prepares to return the ball against Boise State at Hollingberry Fieldhouse, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. The tennis team hosts a triple-header, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.

From staff reports

After an impressive opening week to the season, the Washington State women’s tennis team will aim to remain undefeated when they close their home stand with a Big Sky triple-header this Friday. The day will start off with Montana (0-0) at 10 a.m., followed by Portland State (0-1) at 2:30 p.m., and Eastern Washington (1-2) will round out the trio of matches at 6 p.m.

Montana’s ability is hard to predict considering this will be its first match of the season. While the Grizzlies should not be overlooked, as they were ranked second in the Big Sky preseason poll, nationally ranked Washington State (3-0) is the favorite to win. After dismantling their first three opponents, including a sweep of Seattle, the Cougars enter this match with a lot of confidence.

 

The Cougs will have to watch out for senior Sasha Carter, who was ranked fifth overall in the ITA Mountain Region rankings earlier this Jan. She was 10-4 in singles play in the fall season, which included a pair of victories against WSU players. During a match on Sept. 21, 2014, she defeated senior Elizaveta Luzina in three sets with scores of 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. She followed that up the next day by defeating junior Maria Biryukova, taking consecutive tiebreakers 7-6 and 7-6 after losing the first set by a score of 2-6.

In the second match, WSU will face off against Portland State, who lost to UC Davis 6-1 in their opener on Jan. 24. Sophomore Tracy Dong performed well in the loss and should not be overlooked by the Cougs. She gutted out a three set win for PSU in singles with the scores of 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and registered the only point for Portland State. The team was a surprise last year, making the Big Sky Tournament for the first time ever with a record of 6-3. The Cougars cannot let PSU surprise them Friday.

The triple-header will end with a matchup against Eastern Washington, which has sandwiched a win against Lewis-Clark State in between losses to Boise State and Seattle. Freshman Janaya Smith has performed well for the Eagles, as she is undefeated in both singles (3-0) and in doubles (3-0) with her partner sophomore Erin Blessing this season.

The Cougars will need to keep up the energy throughout the day and contain the key players for each team to remain undefeated after the dust settles Friday evening.

You can catch all of the action at the Simmelink Tennis Courts at Hollingbery Fieldhouse this Friday starting at 10 a.m.

Reporting by Kevin Vallene