Cougar tennis beats northern neighbors

Kumhom hero of match; senior leadership shows up



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

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

WSU tennis (6-9, 1-3) beat Gonzaga (6-6) 5-2 Friday in Spokane, with sophomore Fifa Kumhom delivering the final blow. Kumhom was the hero of the day, winning her match to clinch the Cougars’ third straight victory over Gonzaga and 11th all-time.

The Cougs have only lost one match against the Zags since the teams first squared off in 2006.

In doubles, Senior Savanna Ly-Nguyen and freshmen Elyse Tse fell to Frederikke Svarre and Jenna Sloan in the No. 3 spot, 2-6. The pair raised their doubles record to 11-4 overall.

 At No. 2, Senior Senior Yang Lee and Kumhom dominated their match against Tiegan Aitken and Kianna Oda to win their 10th doubles match together, 6-2. The pair raised their doubles record to 10-8 overall, 7-7 in the dual season.

It all came down to the duo of Senior Michaela Bayerlova and freshman Maxine Murphy. After a rough start to the match, the pair rallied to beat Gonzaga’s pair of Cate Broerman and Adrianna Sosnowska, 6-4 at No. 1. The pair began working together in doubles at the start of the dual season and hold a 6-6 record.

In singles, Ly-Nguyen (17-5, 8-9) redeemed her doubles loss with a quick second point for the Cougs, beating Sosnowska in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2.

Gonzaga made it interesting in singles. Lee (3-4) lost to Atiken in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. Tse (2-15, 2-12) lost to Wernli 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 after a convincing first set. With the match even at 2-2, Murphy gave the Cougs the lead with a deceive 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win against Sloan at No. 3.

Even with a 3-2 lead, the match could have easily slipped out of the Cougars’ fingers. Following the Cougs’ loss to Utah the prior Sunday, coach Atawo said that the Cougs were preparing for a difficult match against the Zags.

“[Gonzaga is] going to be a tough team as well. Everybody’s tough for us. So you know, we can’t take it easy,” Atawo said.

Thankfully, the Cougs were up for the challenge. Kumhom (11-13, 4-7) controlled the flow of the match to emerge victorious against Oda, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 at No. 4. With victory clinched, Bayerlova (12-1, 7-1) confidentially finished her match victorious as well, beating Broerman, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4.

WSU resumes conference play with a trip to Eugene, Ore. to challenge the Oregon Ducks (9-5, 1-3). The Cougs are 17-14 against Oregon all-time and are riding a three-match win streak over the Ducks.

The Cougs and Ducks will clash at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Oregon Student Tennis Center.