By PAUL WELLING
The BYU Women’s Tennis team ended its season Thursday with a close loss in the first round of the NCAA Championships to a hard-playing Wake Forrest team.
“It was heartbreaking. We were really disappointed,” said sports information director Norma Collett, who joined the team in South Bend, Ind. for the championships.
Clark Barton, the women’s tennis coach, said the sad thing is they had a chance to win it but didn’t.
The matches were long and hard-fought with some matches going the full three sets. Five matches required tie-breakers.
Holly Parkinson, the No.1 singles player for the Cougars, won her match with a score of 7-6, 6-3.
BYU’s No.2 player, Eline Chiew, has been undefeated all season in dual matches, and has a singles record of 23-0. But her undefeated streak ended against a tough Wake Forrest opponent who beat Chiew in a drawn-out battle 3-6, 6-3, 3-6.
When the singles matches ended, the score was tied at 3-3. That left the outcome of the meet to the doubles teams.
The No.2 doubles team, Parkinson and Jodi Richardson, won with a score of 8-5, but the No.3 doubles team, Kim Kelly and Tara Reid, lost. That left only the No.1 doubles team of Chiew and Adrien Jenkins.
Jenkins and Chiew led by a score of 7-4, but couldn’t hold on to their lead. Wake Forrest rallied and came back to win by a score of 9-8.
Barton said one thing that hurt the Cougars was the loss of their No.4 singles player Reid, who also plays doubles at the No.3 position.
Reid had been suffering from dizzy spells, the cause of which are still not known.
“We weren’t at full strength because Tara Reid couldn’t play,” Barton said.
But Barton didn’t want to make excuses.
“The sad thing is this, even though we had a player that was sick there are a lot of things that could be listed as excuses but they’re not excuses. We had a chance to win it but we didn’t.”
Despite the loss, Barton said the team performed well overall.
“We never stopped fighting. I was proud of the girls. They played hard clear through the end,” Barton said.
Barton hopes the team will be able to benefit from the loss.
“It’ll make us more experienced in how to deal with certain situations,” Barton said.
The Cougars’ time at the NCAA Championships isn’t over, however. Three players will remain to play in the individual tournament. Parkinson, Chiew and Jenkins were all nominated to compete at the individual level to determine the NCAA individual champion.
Chiew and Parkinson will both compete in the singles championships, and Chiew will also team up with Jenkins to compete in the doubles events.
Because of her seventh seed, Parkinson was selected as an All-American. Depending on their performances, Chiew and Jenkins may also be selected.