No. 2 New Mexico Rallies Past No. 3 San José State In Semifinal Of 2015 Mountain West Women's Tennis Championship
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Down 3-1 and needing to win in three sets three times against San José State, the New Mexico Lobos did just that and advanced to Sunday’s 2015 Mountain West Women’s Tennis Championship match at 2 p.m. MT, against No. 5 seeded Wyoming. The 2015 Mountain West Tennis Championships are being hosted by the University of New Mexico at the McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium.
The match was a second straight marathon match as Wyoming advanced earlier by a similar 4-3 score over Fresno State.
Things started well enough for New Mexico, picked up a sweep in the doubles point, giving them a 1-0 lead. That proved important after San José State bolted out to a 3-1 lead. It started with a pair of runaways, at No. 5 singles by Malin Cubukcu 6-1, 6-1 and at No. 1 singles by Sybille Gauvain 6-2, 6-3.
The Spartans made it 3-1 when Gaelle Rey won 7-5, 6-0 over Meredith Hopson, who clearly ran out of steam as she continues to deal with an upset stomach. That meant one more win would put the Spartans in the title match, but SJSU couldn’t take advantage of opening set wins on courts two and four. Natasha Smith, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, hobbled her way to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2 singles to cut the deficit to 3-2.
UNM than closed the match out within 15 seconds of each other. Dominique Dulski won at No. 4 singles 6-0, 3-6, 6-1 to make it 3-3, and moments later, Sharon Coone finished off her comeback win 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, pushing the Lobos into the title match.
“We’ve played a lot of tennis, and for someone like Natasha to get a win like that is such a lift,” said head coach Erica Perkins Jasper, who missed last night’s match with an illness. “Sharon just gets to and plays a lot of balls, so I thought if we could extend things it would work to our advantage.”
As for the rematch with Wyoming, Perkins Jasper knows how tight it will be.
“Wyoming has a great team and Dean’s a great coach,” Jasper said. “We lost a heartbreaker up there a few weeks ago, so this will be a battle for certain.”
New Mexico improved to 15-9 on the season, and San José State finished 14-7.
Notes: Every match of the Mountain West Tennis Championships is available on the Mountain West Network, powered by Campus Insiders. Download the Mountain West app to your phone or tablet to catch all the action … Wyoming beat New Mexico 4-3 on April 10th earlier this season … Erica Perkins Jasper is now 4-2 as a coach in the Mountain West Tournament, but this was her first win with her in attendance, after having a baby in 2014 and being ill for the quarterfinals … New Mexico has never won a conference title in women’s tennis, and Wyoming hasn’t won a Mountain West title in women’s tennis.