March 2, 2013

Women's tennis wins first Big Sky match

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

CHENEY, Wash. – The Northern Colorado Women's Tennis team won its first Big Sky Conference match of the year on Saturday at Eastern Washington and did so in dramatic fashion, winning 4-3.

"We had a good conference win today and are continuing to gain confidence," Coach Brenda Vlasak said. "I do believe that we made the task at hand harder than it should have been, but a win is a win, we will take it and learn from it."

The Bears (2-4, 1-2 Big Sky) got the morning started by earning the doubles point. The tandem of juniors Stephanie Catlin (Basingstoke, England) and Elizabeth Tapia (Panama City, Panama) got the late break at No. 1 doubles for the 9-7 win over Chelsea Patton and Moira Hedberg.

The Eagles (4-7, 2-2 Big Sky) won 8-1 at No. 2 doubles, but senior Jennifer Buchanan (Fullerton, Calif.) and freshman Hilary Walters-West (Simi Valley, Calif.) also pulled out a two-game victory, winning 8-6.

All six singles matches were decided in straight sets, with each team winning three.

Tapia gave the Bears the 2-0 advantage with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Chrissy Uriarte at No. 2 singles. The Eagles tied the team score at 2-2, winning at both No. 1 and No. 4. Hedberg defeated Buchanan 6-4, 7-5 in a close battle, while Kelsey Knight defeated sophomore Chrissie Hoolahan (Richmond, Surrey, England) 6-4, 6-1.

Catlin and Chelsea Patton at No. 2 singles were the next pair to finish with the 6-4, 6-1 score and freshman Claire Uhle (Blue Bell, Pa.) clinched the match for the Bears with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Ryann Warner.

"Steph Catlin stepped up today and really played smart tennis," Vlasak said. "Claire Uhle also did a great job of staying focused and digging in to clench the match for us."

At No. 6 singles, former Bear Alexis Filliol (2010-11) edged Walters-West 7-5, 6-1 for the 4-3 final team score.

The Bears continue the Pacific Northwest trip on Sunday with a match against Gonzaga. The doubles teams are set to start at 9 am Mountain.