Cougar tennis to spend weekend on the road to Oregon


Senior Maria Biryukova prepares to hit the ball during a match against Seattle University on Feb 6.

While some students travel this weekend for spring break, the women’s tennis team will compete in Oregon as they have matches during spring break.

The No. 69 Cougars face No. 36 Oregon on Friday, then travel to Portland to play the University of Portland.

In her time with the Cougars, Head Coach Lisa Hart has a 7-5 record against Oregon. Hart has compiled a 6-0 record against Portland.

The first match against Oregon this weekend will be a close match as both sides have played well this season. The Oregon Ducks are 8-2 and have beat Idaho and UC Santa Barbara with a similar score line to the Cougars. The Cougars with the two losses last weekend, slip to 13-3. Despite the two losses last weekend, the Cougars look to bounce back as a team. With the time they spend as a group it is easy to see why this team is so close.

Whether it is spending time together in the van when travelling or hanging out in the hotel, the team has created a strong core, one that has been a key part of the success so far this season.

Senior Lize Leenknecht said the team has bonded over the countless hours on road trips.

“Listening to music when we’re driving in the car, it keeps me really loose,” Leenknecht said.

Sophomore Donika Bashota led the Cougars in the fall, and compiled a 15-1 record earning the No. 6 Northwest Regional player. Bashota has 31 singles wins this season, which matches her total from last year. She is three wins away from topping the list. Her performances are helped by the relaxed environment with her teammates.

“We watch television shows or a movie, some people do homework,” Bashota said.

As for preparing to play Oregon, the team has simulated numerous scenarios that they may experience this weekend.

Senior Trang Huynh has been pivotal in her first season with the Cougars. She finished the fall 2015 season with an 11-6 record, which awarded her a No. 15 regional ranking.

“We’re trying make up the environment that we will that we will have there,” Huynh said.

Leenknecht added that Oregon is one of the most hostile environments in the Pac-12.

“Oregon is a loud facility so we have been listening to heavy metal music and talking so we can prepare for Oregon,” Leenknecht said.

The Cougars play Oregon at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and Portland at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.