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Saturday was an important day for the Weber State University tennis teams. The men’s team remained perfect in the Big Sky Conference, while the women’s team earned its first Big Sky win of the season.
The men’s team squared off with the University of Montana on Saturday afternoon at the Ogden Athletic Club in a match-up of the lone two teams with undefeated Big Sky Conference records. The Wildcats emerged with their perfect record intact, defeating the Grizzlies 5-2.
“We knew coming in today that this match would likely determine the regular-season conference championship,” said sophomore Landon Barlow. “We had a lot of energy and we came in with a lot of fight. It was a total team effort, and we are really excited to come away with the victory. We’re hopefully going to keep this momentum going and take it into the conference tournament and see what we can do there.”
The Grizzlies jumped up early on the Wildcats in doubles, and looked to take the opening point after scoring two-break leads in both the No. 1 and 2 matches. The Wildcats rallied to win the point, however, with a strong effort down the stretch of the doubles competition.
WSU sophomore Jakub Gewert helped the Wildcats score the doubles point with a win in the No. 2 match. Trailing by a two-break deficit, he and partner Todd Fought rallied to take an 8-7 win over Mikolaj Caruk and Tomasz Soltyka to score the point, as Caio Poitena and Landon Barlow had already earned an 8-5 win in the No. 3 match.
In singles play, the two teams split the No. 3 and 4 matches to make the score 2-1 for WSU. Gewert, who also won his doubles match, came up with the clinching point in the No. 1 match, defeating Caruk 7-6, 6-3 to move the Wildcats to 8-0 in conference play on the season. Gewert’s play earned him the Player of the Week award for Big Sky men’s tennis.
“Our guys played really well today against an always-tough opponent,” said WSU head coach Brad Ferreira.
WSU is now 12-9 overall on the season and has two conference matches remaining in the regular season. The Wildcats have a chance to clinch the regular-season championship with a win over Southern Utah University, which is 0-6 in the Big Sky, on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the women’s team picked up its first Big Sky win of the 2014 season on Saturday with a 4-3 win over SUU.
The Wildcats won their No. 2 and 3 doubles matches to take the doubles point, which proved vital as the teams split the six singles matches. WSU seniors Thais Kurer and Nittaya Phonharath defeated Nastia Vasileva and Madeline Skaras 8-5 in the No. 2 doubles match, while seniors Ashley Tanner and Michelle Warwick cruised to an 8-2 win over Jane Marushko and Sarah Lundin.
In singles, Phonharath, sophomore Agata Bachanek and senior Annika Karlsen each earned points for the Wildcats, with Phonharath scoring the match-clinching point to break a 3-3 tie.
The win moved the Wildcats to 7-13 overall and 1-6 in the Big Sky, while SUU dropped to 6-9 overall and 2-6 in the conference. The win also snapped a four-match losing skid for the Wildcats.
The women’s team will face Eastern Washington University on Friday. The Wildcats will have another road match Sunday before ending their season at home against Idaho State University on April 18.