Cougs welcome three regional rivals this weekend

After first win with Atawo, Cougs host Montana, Eastern Washington, Idaho

Then-Freshman+Savanna+Ly-Nguyen+prepares+to+return+a+ball+during+her+singles+match+Jan.+12%2C+2019+against+Idahos+Anna+Stefani.+Ly-Nguyen+won+the+match+in+two+sets+winning+6-4+and+6-0+respectively.+

BEN SCHUH

Then-Freshman Savanna Ly-Nguyen prepares to return a ball during her singles match Jan. 12, 2019 against Idaho’s Anna Stefani. Ly-Nguyen won the match in two sets winning 6-4 and 6-0 respectively.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen reporter

Fresh off her first career win, WSU tennis head coach Raquel Atawo looks to rack up three more victories against regional rivals.

The Cougs will host Montana at 2 p.m. on Friday. Next, the Cougs host Eastern Washington at 11 a.m. on Saturday, followed by their Palouse neighbors, University of Idaho, at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

WSU

WSU has never lost to any of their three weekend opponents, going 14-0 against Montana, 17-0 against Eastern Washington and 15-0 against University of Idaho all-time.

Atawo’s first WSU victory was a 6-1 win over BYU at home, a promising start to the dual-match season.

The Cougs swept the other Cougars in doubles. Pairs Savanna Ly-Nguyen and Elyse Tse, Michaela Bayerlova and Maxine Murphy, and Yang Lee and Fifa Kumhom each contributed to WSU’s victory, winning their games 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5, respectively.

The master and apprentice pairing of fifth-year Bayerlova and freshman Murphy is an intriguing one. Bayerlova has a collegiate doubles record of 65-28 and is 12-8 when competing in the No. 1 doubles spot.

The Cougs proved to be just as dominant in singles with Bayerlova making quick work of her opponent, winning the sets 6-1, 6-3. Bayerlova has an impressive record of 78-23 in single games.

Ly-Nguyen continued in her No. 2 role, winning her sets 6-3 and 7-5, and raising her career record to 62-27.

Five-star recruit Murphy clinched the Cougar victory with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 showing. The No. 29 ranked freshman in the nation by Babolat, is now 4-5 and 1-0 in collegiate dual-matches.

With the victory in hand, No. 4 Tse and No. 5 Kumhom won their singles matches.

WSU’s lone loss came in the sixth singles match as Stefaniia Mikhailova lost 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7).

Opponents

Montana is coming off a 4-3 win against Seattle University in Salt Lake City.

Montana’s top player is senior Lauren Dunlap. Dunlap is 7-5 on the season and played an integral role in Montana’s recent win.

Montana closed out the match with two come-from-behind victories from Dunlap and freshmen Grace Haugen to confrim the team win.

Eastern Washington is coming off a 7-0 loss to University Washington on Sunday. The Eagles could not win a single game against the Huskies, losing in two sets each match and losing each double 6-2, 6-1, and 6-1 respectively. 

Freshmen doubles pair Jennifer Kida and Isabella Foshee received praise from their head coach Dustin Hinson for “looking like veterans” out on the court. 

Atawo is not the only new head tennis coach on the Palouse. The University of Idaho Women’s Tennis team hired head coach Sanne Louwers earlier this month. Atawo and Louwers’ first head-to-head will also be Louwers’ first match as head coach of the Vandals. The Cougs’ last meeting with the Vandals in February 2021 resulted in a 4-3 Cougar victory.

All three matches will take place at the Hollingberry Fieldhouse in Pullman.