Mountain schools come to Pullman

Tennis looks to defend Hollingbery Fieldhouse against Colorado, Utah



Senior Melissa Ates continues a rally against Fresno State on Feb. 20 at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

Nick Oldham, Evergreen sports editor

The WSU tennis team will face conference opponents in a two-match homestand against the University of Colorado, Boulder at 1:30 p.m. Friday and the University of Utah at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

The Cougars (9-3) will come into the matches ranked 39th in the nation after rising from 43rd. The University of Utah (10-3) is ranked 44th and Colorado (8-4) is unranked.

WSU will look to avoid a repeat of last season, as both Colorado and Utah upset the nationally-ranked Cougars 4-3.

Colorado will come into the match winning three of its last four, only falling to No. 34 University of Denver in that span. Utah currently has a four-match win streak but will play No. 30 University of Washington on Friday before playing WSU on Sunday.

Junior Michaela Bayerlova climbed in singles competition rankings from 63rd to 46th, as she will look to maintain her perfect 11-0 singles record. Senior Melisa Ates fell out the singles rankings from being tied for 107th.

Bayerlova will look to get her revenge in singles play against Colorado’s sophomore Sara Nayar, who upset Bayerlova last season when she was ranked 38th in the nation.

WSU will have its hands full in doubles competition this weekend. Both Colorado and Utah enter their matches against the Cougars with nationally-ranked doubles teams.

Colorado’s senior Monica Malinen and Nayar are 64th, and Utah’s sophomore Madison Tattini and senior Whitney Hekking are 12th in the nation.

WSU is coming off last weekend’s matches in southern California where they went 1-1. The Cougars lost to University of San Diego 3-4 Friday and beat University of California, Santa Barbara 4-2 Saturday.

Ates will come into Friday’s competition with 89 career singles victories, which is 7th on WSU’s all-time list, according WSU’s athletics website. She will look to pass former assistant coach Ekaterina Burduli at 90 wins.

Colorado will be the second Pac-12 team WSU plays this season, as they lost to then-No. 1 Stanford on Jan. 26.

After the competitions against Colorado and Utah, WSU will put conference play on hold as they head to Houston to take on Rice University on March 15 and University of Houston on March 17.

WSU’s match against Colorado will start at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse.