Tran's Comeback Gives Air Force 4-3 Win Over UTEP

Feb. 5, 2012

Thanks to a furious comeback by freshman Tiffany Tran to win the deciding match at No. 3 singles, the Air Force women's tennis team won its fourth straight match in dramatic fashion Sunday, defeating UTEP, 4-3, in El Paso, Texas. Air Force improved to 6-1, while UTEP fell to 1-4.

With the team match tied at 3-all, Tran lost the first set to Carolina DeLuca, 6-2, then saved a match point before winning the second set in a tiebreaker, 7-5, and was down 5-1 and saved three more match points in the third set before winning that set, also in a tiebreaker.

Air Force led off the match by winning the doubles point with victories at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. Senior Tahlia Smoke and junior Melissa Cecil won at the top spot, defeating Martina Trierweiler and Rebeca Calvillo, 8-2, while junior Hannah Dake and sophomore Natasha Rizvi downed Dariya Abdrakhmanova and Gabi Vazquez, 8-5, at No. 2.

In singles play, Smoke won the No. 4 match, 6-1, 6-1 over Vazquez and Cecil stayed perfect at No. 1 when Trierweiler retired after losing the first set in a tiebreaker. UTEP stormed back, however, winning the next three matches off the court. Calvillo beat Christine Molina, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 2, Maria LeBlond defeated Rizvi, 6-1, 6-4, at No. 6 and Abdrakhmanova downed Dake, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, setting up the deciding win by Tran.

"This was a huge week for our team, winning three matches on the road against very tough opponents," said Air Force head coach Kim Gidley. "We have had amazing efforts all weekend but today was an incredible team effort."

The Falcons travel to Lincoln, Neb., next weekend to face Nebraska (Feb. 11) and Northern Iowa (Feb. 12).

Air Force 4, UTEP 3
Feb. 5, 2012 at El Paso, Texas

1. Cecil / Smoke (AF) def. Trierweiler / Calvillo, 8-2
2. Dake / Rizvi (AF) def. Abdrakhmanova / Vazquez, 8-5
3. DeLuca / LeBlond (UTEP) def. Molina / Tran, 8-5

1. Melissa Cecil (AF) def. Martina Trierweiler, 7-6, ret.
2. Rebeca Calvillo (UTEP) def. Christine Molina, 6-4, 6-4
3. Tiffany Tran (AF) def. Carolina DeLuca, 2-6, 7-6, 7-6
4. Tahlia Smoke (AF) def. Gabi Vazquez, 6-1, 6-1
5. Dariya Abdrakhmanova (UTEP) def. Hannah Dake, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
6. Marie LeBlond (UTEP) def. Natasha Rizvi, 6-1, 6-4