Cougar tennis off to hot 4-0 start

WSU head coach Raquel Atawo remains undefeated

Maxine+Murphy+swings+at+the+ball+during+a+singles+match+against+Idaho%2C+Jan.+29%2C+at+Hollingberry+Fieldhouse.+

KELLY LIM

Maxine Murphy swings at the ball during a singles match against Idaho, Jan. 29, at Hollingberry Fieldhouse.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports editor

In a jam-packed weekend, WSU tennis (4-0) beat three regional rivals and kept the undefeated season alive.

WSU beat Montana on Friday (5-2), Eastern Washington on Saturday (4-2) and Idaho on Saturday (5-2) at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

The Cougs captured the doubles point in each of their three games. The doubles pair of senior Savanna Ly-Nguyen and freshman Elyse Tse remain undefeated, beating Montana and Eastern Washington’s No. 2 doubles pairs and Idaho’s No. 3 duo. 

The pair of senior Yang Lee and sophomore Fifa Kumhom did their part, beating Eastern Washington’s No. 1 duo and Idaho’s No. 2 pair 7-5 and 6-4, respectively.

Fifth-year senior Michaela Bayerlova and freshman Maxine Murphy lost to Idaho’s No. 1 pair 3-6. 

On Friday, Murphy and her fellow freshman teammate, Hania Abouelsaad, beat Montana’s No. 3 pair to clinch the doubles point for WSU.

Abouelsaad hails from Alexandria, Egypt, and is one of the best junior players in the country. She is fresh off winning the J5 Cario title last month, her fourth career International Tennis Federation junior title. As of 2019, she had reached the quarterfinals in four of her last five tournaments. Abouelsaad played her first dual-season doubles for the Cougs on Friday. She was set to play doubles against Eastern Washington, but EWU did not have a third doubles pair.

In singles play, Ly-Nguyen is undefeated at 4-0, beating Montana’s star freshman Grace Haugen 6-1, 6-1, EWU’s star freshman Jennifer Kida, 6-3, 6-2 and Idaho senior Melissa Huchet, 6-1, 6-0. Ly-Nguyen improved her overall collegiate record to 70-27 with her 6-0 weekend.

KELLY LIM
Savanna Ly-Nguyen prepares to strike the ball during a singles match against Idaho, Saturday, Jan. 29, at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

Murphy is 3-1 in the No. 2 spot so far in this young dual season, beating Montana’s Olivia Oosterbaan 6-2, 6-2 and EWU’s Yasmin Mansouri 6-4, 6-3. Murphy lost to Idaho’s freshman Ines Oliveira 5-7, 6-2, 6-2. 

Tse lost to Montana’s star senior Lauren Dunlap 1-6, 7-6, and 0-1 and Idaho’s sophomore Ke Syuan Jhang 5-7, 6-2, 5-7. However, Tse was victorious against EWU, beating sophomore Renata Gabuzyan, 6-2, 6-4.

Kumhom is 3-1 on the year, beating two of her opponents in straight sets. She got the edge over Montana’s sophomore Ivayla Mitkova, 6-0, 7-5, and Idaho’s sophomore Andrea Redondo 6-1, 6-4.

Lee had to retire against Montana freshman Rosie Sterk despite winning the first set 5-2. She beat Idaho junior Nicole Horacek in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1. Lee did not get a chance to play Eastern Washington in singles as EWU did not have any players available to play and had to forfeit that round. Lee reached two junior international single finals in 2016. The senior clinched her 50th WSU singles win on Saturday, bringing her career singles record to 50-12. In dual matches, she is 17-7.

Next up for the Cougs is a trip to Texas to face No. 22 Baylor on Saturday.