| March 20, 2018

W. Tennis: High Expectations

April 28, 2016

When it comes the postseason, all bets are off when it comes to tournament play.

No matter the sport, postseason magic is bound to take over in one form or another.

The Idaho’s women’s tennis team is hoping to utilize some of that magic this weekend. The Big Sky tournament seeding has been set, as six teams are seeking the conference title.

Northern Arizona sits atop the conference standings with a 10-1 conference record.

The Vandals faced the Lumberjacks in the team’s conference opener in February. The Vandals lost the match by a narrow margin, 4-3.

Meanwhile, Sacramento State has locked up the No. 2 seed with an identical 10-1 conference record.

If Idaho advances to the second round of play, the program will take on the Hornets with a berth in the conference on the line.
The two programs met earlier this year, with Vandals also falling to the Hornets 4-3.

Idaho possesses the third seed in the tournament. Unlike Northern Arizona and Sacramento State, the Vandals will not be provided the luxury of a first round bye.

However, the team will face the lowest-ranked team in the tournament — Eastern Washington.

The Eagles went 6-5 in Big Sky play and 12-10 overall. When the Vandals last played Eastern Washington, the Eagles had trouble maintaining consistency and fell 6-1.

Idaho head coach Mariana Cobra said she was thankful to face Eastern Washington in the first round.

“This is good, because it is fresh in our mind how they play,” Cobra said. “We won the doubles point against Eastern Washington, and we want to win that point again.”

Cobra said she was also proud of her team’s overall improvement in the doubles game. She said earning the early point in any match will provide a serious advantage for the Vandals.

Idaho swept the doubles point in the team’s match against Eastern Washington April 1. Sophomore Ana Batiri and senior Belen Barcenilla provided the program’s strongest performance with a 6-2 victory.

Cobra said the Eagles have one advantage entering the tournament.

“The difference between playing Eastern Washington then and playing them now is that they have nothing to lose,” Cobra said. “We have to be ready for them to come out swinging.”

Cobra said earning the doubles point will make a substantial difference in the team’s approach in later rounds of the tournament.

“This tournament isn’t really about other teams,” Cobra said. “We have to control what we do well.”

Idaho will begin tournament play Friday against Eastern Washington at 10 a.m. in Gold River, California.

Brandon Hill can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill  

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