Sophomore Holly Bagshaw and the fourth-seeded Aztecs will take on New Mexico in the quarterfinals of the MWC tournament on Thursday.
April 25, 2007
SAN DIEGO -
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Fourth-Seeded Aztecs Head to the Rockies for 2007 MWC Championships The 52nd-ranked San Diego State women's tennis team embarks on its quest for the Mountain West Conference's automatic bid to NCAA tournament this week when it travels to the Air Force Academy for the 2007 MWC championships, April 26-28, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Aztecs (14-10, 6-2 MWC) received the tournament's fourth seed and will square off against No. 5 seed New Mexico in a quarterfinal match on Thursday, beginning at 2 p.m. MDT.
If SDSU prevails, it will face the winner of the Brigham Young-Colorado State showdown on Friday, starting at 2 p.m. MDT.
The Aztecs capped off the 2007 campaign with a rush by winning nine of their final 11 dual matches, including upsets over Oregon and BYU at home.
Mountain West Tournament History SDSU sports an 11-6 all-time record in the MWC tournament, capturing the title in 2003 and posting runner-up finishes in 2001 and 2002. The Aztecs suffered their first-ever loss in the quarterfinal round last year as New Mexico dealt the Scarlet and Black a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat at Aztec Tennis Center. The contest was completed on Montezuma Mesa one day after persistent rain suspended play at Barnes Tennis Center with the score tied at 3-3. In the deciding match, Milana Yusupov rallied from an early deficit against the Lobos' Ola Abou-Zekry at the No. 4 position before eventually falling in a tough three-set battle.
Scouting the Lobos New Mexico (11-10, 4-4 MWC) has also been hot of late, sweeping league rivals Utah, Colorado State, Wyoming and Air Force by a combined score of 28-2 in its final four matches of the regular season.
Individually, the Lobos are led by Ola Abou-Zekry, who has compiled a 15-6 record in dual-match competition and has occupied the No. 1 position since Feb. 23. Meanwhile, the tandem of Lucy Scott and Sandra Zmak has racked up eight wins alternating between the top two spots in doubles play.
Series History vs. New Mexico The Aztecs hold a 16-7 lead in the all-time series, including a 5-2 decision over the Lobos on April 1 in Fort Worth, Texas. After dropping a closely contested doubles point, SDSU took control in singles play, taking five of six encounters to pull away for the win. The victory propelled the Scarlet and Black to a five-match winning streak, which was halted by UNLV in the regular season finale on April 15.
Scouting the Cougars
Brigham Young (18-6, 7-1 MWC), which earned the league's No. 1 seed, enters the tournament on a roll after winning 16 of 18 matches to close out the regular season.
No. 89 Anastasia Surkova and Lauren Jones are the mainstays at the top of the Cougars' singles order with 34 victories between them in dual-match competition. Surkova has also earned a No. 48 ranking in doubles, combining with Jenny Miccoli for a 16-5 record this spring.
Series History vs. Brigham Young Although Cougars maintain a slim 21-18 advantage in the all-time series, the Aztecs have posted upsets in consecutive seasons against their MWC rival. Two weeks ago, SDSU stole some of BYU's late-season thunder with a thrilling 4-3 victory on April 13 at Aztec Tennis Center. The Scarlet and Black overcame a 3-1 deficit in singles play, winning the final three matches of the day to pull off the dramatic win. Eliska Krausova captured the deciding point at the No. 2 position after outlasting the Cougars' Lauren Jones in a gritty three-set encounter.
In MWC tournament action, the two teams have split four meetings. BYU emerged triumphant in 2001 and 2005, while SDSU prevailed in 2002 and 2003.
Scouting the Rams Eighth-seeded Colorado State (10-11, 1-7 MWC) advanced to the MWC quarterfinal round with a 4-2 victory over host school and No. 9 seed Air Force on Wednesday. Emily Kirchem and Hilary Tyler have been nearly unstoppable for the Rams at No. 1 doubles, amassing a 16-1 record in dual matches. In singles play, Kirchem, Tyler, Laura Neal and Lauren Strasburger have all seen action atop CSU's singles rotation this spring.
Series History vs. Colorado State The Aztecs have never lost to the Rams in 13 all-time meetings, including a 5-2 triumph on March 25 in Las Vegas, Nev. In that contest, SDSU broke a 2-2 tie by capturing the final three singles matches to escape with the win. Holly Bagshaw provided the clincher at No. 3 for her fourth straight victory.
The two schools have met twice in MWC tournament play with the Aztecs posting victories in 2001 (4-0) and 2004 (4-1).
Key Doubles Point Winning the doubles point for San Diego State is the key to victory as it is for most teams. The Aztecs won the doubles point 12 times this season and on 11 occasions they came away with a win. The lone exception occurred on Feb. 16, when SDSU took two of three doubles matches and wound up falling to Long Beach State, 5-2. The 12 times San Diego State dropped the doubles point it resulted in nine defeats.
Despite falling behind early against Colorado State, New Mexico and BYU, the Aztecs were able to recover in singles play against those three opponents after losing the doubles point.
Top of the Order Turnaround The Aztecs wrapped up their regular season schedule in impressive fashion, winning nine of 11 matches. A large part of that success can be attributed to the improved play at the top of SDSU's singles lineup. Since posting a 7-0 victory over Washington on March 20, the top three positions have combined for a sparkling 23-10 overall record, compared to a mediocre 14-25 mark in 13 matches prior to the Huskies clash.
Mattera Magic Peter Mattera is in his 26th season at San Diego State and 14th as head coach of the Scarlet and Black. In 13-plus seasons, the Aztecs' mentor has guided SDSU to nine postseason appearances, compiling a record of 217-144 (.601) in the process. Equally impressive is the fact that 12 of his 14 squads have finished with an overall record of .500 or better despite playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation on an annual basis.