AP NEWS

ISU Tennis: ISU women advance, men sent home in conference tourney

April 28, 2017

The Idaho State women’s tennis team picked up its first postseason win since 2004 with a 4-3 win over No. 5 Northern Colorado on Thursday evening at Big Sky Conference championships at the Phoenix Tennis Center in Phoenix.

“Another nail-biter for us today, but the team fought hard to clinch the win,” Bengals coach Gretchen Maloney said. “Louise-Mare [Botes] killed it with a 6-1, 6-0 win to get our singles rolling, while Angela [Walker] was super steady as usual. Melissa [Coburn] fought so hard and won her match to keep us alive, and Huibre-Mare [Botes] clinched the match for us with really consistent play from the baseline.”

Idaho State (10-10) fell behind early as Northern Colorado (8-13) picked up the doubles point. The Bears started with a 6-3 win at No. 3 doubles, followed by a 6-4 win at No. 2 to take the early 1-0 match lead.

The Bengals were hot to start singles play, as Louise-Mare Botes picked up the quick two-set win at No. 3 singles, 6-1, 6-0. Walker followed suit, defeating UNC’s Remi Immler 6-3, 6-3 to give ISU a 2-1 match lead.

Northern Colorado grinded out two straight wins, starting with a three-set victory at No. 1 singles followed by a two-set tiebreaker at No. 5 singles. With two sets left to finish, the Bears carried a 3-2 match lead.

ISU’s Coburn started the comeback for the Bengals with a three-set match against UNC’s Marissa Baca. Baca took the first set 6-3, while Coburn claimed the second 6-2 to force a third set. Both players battled back-and-forth, but Coburn came out on top with the 7-6 (7-5) tiebreaker win to tie the match 3-3. ISU’s Huibre-Mare Botes closed, besting the Bears’ Courtney Schulte in three sets: 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Idaho State advances to the semifinals Friday to face No. 1 Northern Arizona Friday, April 28 at 2 p.m.

SEASON-ENDING LOSS

The Idaho State men’s tennis team’s season came to a close Thursday afternoon with a 4-0 loss to No. 4 Montana in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky championships.

“Despite the loss, it was a really, really close match,” Idaho State coach Mark Rodel said. “After dropping the doubles point, we were competitive in every single singles match.”

Idaho State (12-9) dropped the doubles point to Montana (13-8) with a 6-1 loss at No. 3 doubles and a 6-2 loss at No. 2 doubles.

In singles play, ISU tested the Griz, forcing three tiebreakers in three separate matches. But Montana proved too much for the Bengals, winning No. 6, No. 5 and No. 3 singles to take the match. Three of the six singles matches went unfinished.

“We were in control of two of the matches, in addition to the third set at No. 4 singles with Francis [Filipovich],” Rodel said. “It was going to come down to the wire. The pivotal match ended up being Josh Goodwin’s at No. 3 singles, and he had changes to extend the match to a third set but unfortunately couldn’t close out that second set.”

Goodwin battled back in the second set following a 6-1 first-set loss, forcing the tiebreaker. Montana’s Alex Canellopoulos outlasted Goodwin, winning the tiebreaker 8-0 to take the match.

With the loss, Montana advances to the semifinals while Idaho State’s season has come to an end.

“Overall, this was just a gutsy performance against a very well-coached Montana team,” Rodel said. “We say goodbye to five seniors, but have three returning next season with a whole bunch of new players coming in next year. It’s sad to see the guys go. Today was a great performance that would have made any Bengal fan or supporter proud.”