The MSU women’s tennis team had a tough weekend, falling to Idaho State, New Mexico and Montana. The nightmare began Friday, as MSU hosted the Idaho State Vandals, and the first match of the day proved to be the difference-maker. Char Hjalmarsson and Paulina Lopez forced an extra game but dropped a heartbreaker in No. 1 doubles, 9-7, and Ellie Crum and Iva Parapunova lost in No. 2 doubles, 8-6. Losing the doubles point proved costly, as the Cats could only pull out three victories in singles play. Crum, Wena Tsan and Liana Bates won singles matches for the Cats.
Saturday proved to be the same story with a different villain. New Mexico visited on Saturday beating the Cats 4-3. The Cats were swept in doubles, but a bright spot for MSU was freshman Parapunova, who won in No. 2 singles, 6-2, 7-5. Tsan and Lopez also won singles matches for the Cats.
“I thought we played much better against New Mexico,” said Head Coach Denise Albrecht. “We had some nice wins in singles play. Doubles has been our nemesis the past two matches and that’s an area that will get our attention next week.”
The Cats would have to get over their loss quickly, as their oldest nemesis, the Griz, visited Sunday. They got off to a good start, with Hjalmarsson and Lopez winning easily in No. 1 doubles, 8-4. After Parapunova and Crum dropped their No. 2 bout, Tsan and Bates recovered from an early deficit to take a 6-5 lead and looked well on their way to capturing the doubles point, but they lost the next three games, falling 8-6.
It all fell apart for the Cats in singles. Parapunova took the first set in No. 2 singles against Haley Driver, but wasn’t the same after a visit with the trainer in set two, as she began to limp a bit. “Iva’s been playing with a nagging injury,” Albrecht said. “She played tough the entire match and fought for every point.” She held a 4-3 lead but lost the set 7-5 and then lost a heartbreaking third set tiebreaker 11-9. “This is a match that played out a lot different than what it looks like in the scorebook. Eleven of 14 sets were decided by two games or less.”
The only player to notch a win for the Cats was Tsan, who didn’t lose a singles match all weekend.
“Wena had an amazing weekend,” Albrecht said. “Idaho, New Mexico and Montana are three outstanding programs, and for her to sweep the weekend is a big accomplishment.”
The Lady Cats play their next five matches on the road. They’ll return to the Bobcat-Anderson Tennis Center April 6 at 10 a.m. to host conference foe Northern Arizona.