April 26, 2013

Women's Tennis knocked out of Big Sky tournament

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The unfortunate reality in sports is the majority of teams lose the final match of the season, and that reality hit home Friday for the Northern Colorado women's tennis team in a 4-1 loss to Southern Utah in the first round of the 2013 Big Sky Conference Championship at Gold River Racquet Club.

The Bears, who were playing in their second straight Big Sky tournament, ended the season 12-9 overall and 7-3 in Big Sky Conference play.

"The final score doesn't really indicate how we played," Northern Colorado coach Brenda Vlasak said. "In tournament time they call the match once a team has clinched the win, but we were winning the other two matches when it was called."

Northern Colorado's lone point of the day came from freshman phenom Hilary Walters-West (Simi Valley, Calif.), who won 6-4, 6-1 at No. 6 singles against Afton Staheli. Walters-West ended her first year with the Bears on a 12-match winning streak and a 14-6 overall record.

"Today was a good effort," Vlasak said. "I think we were more focused on winning the match, instead of taking the actual steps, but the last time we played [Southern Utah] we won 4-3, so a point here or there could have made a difference."

The top three singles matches were also decided in straight sets Friday after the Thunderbirds scored the first point of the day after winning doubles at the Nos. 1 and 2 positions.

Northern Arizona defeated Montana State 4-1 in the other first round match to set up a Championship semifinal meeting with Montana. Southern Utah will play host and top-seed Sacramento State in the other semifinal.