By Amy Young
Defeating their first Mountain West Conference challenger and taking down a Top 25 opponent, the BYU women?s tennis team returned home last weekend with a bang.
Last weekend was just what the Cougars needed to get back on track. BYU, who ended its five-match winning streak in a heartbreaking loss to Clemson one week ago, has now won its last three matches, thanks to the weekend?s play.
Saturday, for the first time in five years, the Cougars defeated No. 22 Notre Dame by an incredible 6-1 score. Notre Dame entered the match 6-5, with all five of its losses to Top 15 teams. The No. 24 Cougars became the first team with a ranking lower than the Irish to hand them a loss.
?It was really an awesome effort,? BYU head coach Craig Manning said. ?The girls are just getting better every single match; not just one player, but the whole team.?
In doubles matchups, BYU?s Anastasia Surkokva and Jennifer Miccoli came out strong, defeating their opponents 8-5 at the No. 2 spot. Lauren Jones and Dolly Chang struggled to find their rhythm and lost 8-0 to Notre Dame?s Thompson twins, who are currently the No. 2 doubles team in the nation. BYU would capture the doubles point with an 8-5 victory from the Olga Boulytcheva/Sofia Holden duo.
In singles, BYU freshman Miccoli stormed the court, defeating Lauren Connelly 6-1, 6-1. Following Miccoli, Surkova chipped in a 6-0, 6-2 victory, extending the Cougars? lead to 3-0. At the No. 1 spot for BYU, Lauren Jones fought to the end but was unable to beat the 39th-ranked Catarina Thompson. Thompson?s win gave the Irish their first, and what would be their only, point of the day.
In a heated match, Boulytcheva held strong and refused to back down, defeating Brook Buck, the nation?s No. 59 singles player, in two straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Chang and Holden each battled back from 4-1 deficits in their first sets to claim victories.
In Friday?s matchup, the Cougars took on in-state rival Utah and defeated the Utes without giving up a single point, 7-0.
?Today we didn?t really do anything special,? Manning said. ?We just came out and played some good solid tennis.?
The Cougars started out on the right foot, sweeping the doubles matches. BYU?s Boulytcheva/Holden and Surkova/Miccoli duos beat their opponents with ease, giving BYU the doubles point. Jones and Chang, playing at the No. 1 spot for BYU, couldn?t find their rhythm and went down 5-1, and just when it seemed Utah would win the match, the Jones/Chang pair battled back, winning the match 8-6.
The Cougars are now 10-2 on the season, 1-0 in the MWC and will face Oklahoma State University today at 10 a.m. at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. The Cowgirls are 4-6 so far and are 0-2 against Top 25 teams.