UTEP Falls To No. 71 Houston, 5-2
Playing its second ranked opponent in as many days, the UTEP tennis team fought hard but was defeated by a determined 71st-ranked Houston squad, 5-2, at the El Paso Tennis Club Saturday afternoon.
UTEP fell to 6-13 and 1-3 in Conference USA play, while Houston improved to 16-3 and 3-0.
Houston earned the doubles point after securing wins at the second and third positions. At No. 2, Kami Miller and Yolandi Terblanche won four-consecutive games too turn a 2-2 tie into a 6-2 lead and an 8-5 win. The Cougars earned the point when Brianna Bateup and Vicky Simpson defeated Vicky Michaud and Amber Brightly, 8-2. UH won four of the first five games in the No. 2 match.
UTEP’s No. 1 pairing of Katherine Palider and Danielle King won for the second-straight day as they managed a 7-5 win in a tiebreaker. UTEP won the match 8-7 (5). After UH tied it at 7-7, the teams played the tiebreaker since the team point had already been decided.
When play moved to singles, UH earned four victories for the 5-2 outcome. Sonja Nikolic lost just two games in defeating Sandra Spirta, 6-0, 6-2, at No. 3 for the Cougars’ second point. Teri Wilkerson won at No. 1 for the second-consecutive day as she defeated Loli Gomez, 6-1, 6-3, to make the score 2-1.
Houston clinched the match with a pair of wins at Nos. 5 and 2 as Simpson and Bateup claimed straight-set victories, respectively.
Brightly recorded the second singles win for UTEP with a 6-1, 6-4, win over Terblanche at No. 6. The No. 4 match saw Miller defeat King, 6-3, 7-6 (2), with a very exciting second set and tiebreak that went back-and-forth throughout.
UTEP will return to action on Friday, April 7th, at 1:30 p.m., when it welcomes New Mexico State to the El Paso Tennis Club for Senior Day. Houston will face SMU on Sunday morning at 10 a.m. at the El Paso Tennis Club.
UTEP vs. No. 71 Houston
1. King/Pritchard (UTEP) def. Gomez/Nikolic (UH), 8-7 (5)
Final Score: Houston 5, UTEP 2