Idaho women’s tennis concluded its regular season over the weekend, beating Montana 7-0 Saturday and Montana State 6-1 Sunday.
The Vandals played on their home courts for the first time this season against Montana, but were moved to Lewiston the next day due to weather.
Saturday’s match began with Idaho sweeping the doubles point. All three of Idaho’s pairs defeated their opponents 6-2.
“What I really liked was that our doubles were efficient. We went out and got the job done. That really set the tone for our singles,” said Idaho head coach Babar Akbar in a news release.
The Vandals picked up right where they left off in singles. Senior Claire Yang kicked off the day with a sweep of Anabel Carbo 6-0, 6-0.
Sophomore Maria Tavares followed up with a 6-2, 6-0 win on court. No. 4. Sophomore Marianna Petrei clinched the win for the Vandals, defeating Hannah Sulz 6-0, 6-4 on court No. 1.
“Our No. 1, 4 and 6 players really stepped up. Our senior, Claire (Yang), was really strong,” Akbar said.
Despite the match being decided in the first four contests, the Grizzlies refused to go down without a fight. The final three matches ended in tiebreakers, but the Vandals pulled out a win in each one. Freshmen Jessica Brzozowska and Shion Watabe finished with a 10-7 tie-breaker win, while junior Lucia Badillos ended her run 10-5.
However, Sunday’s match against the Bobcats got off to a rockier start. The Vandals dropped the doubles point. Shelby Cerkovnik and Angelina Philippova clinched the final doubles point for the Bobcats, beating Watabe and Yang 7-5.
Idaho turned the tables in singles, sweeping Montana State in six straight matches. Petrei was the first to get on the board for Idaho, defeating Chloe Goyette 6-2, 6-1. Badillos and Brzozowska followed suit with wins on court No. 3 and 2.
Tavares earned a win on the fourth court over Philippova to seal the win for Idaho. Tavares gained an early lead 6-1, but dropped the second set 6-3. She bounced back in the third round in a narrow 6-4 deciding set.
In her final regular season match career, Yang snatched a win against Wanda Holopainen. Yang was given a run for her money after winning the first set, but eventually prevailed in the second, winning 7-5.
Watabe played in the closest match of the day against Jessica Brycki. Watabe’s early 1-0 lead was erased after Brycki earned a 6-2 win in the second. The deciding set came down to a tiebreaker, where Watabe came out on top 10-7.
With two final wins down the stretch, Idaho earned a first-round bye in the Big Sky tournament. Idaho moved ahead of Montana State in the standings, reaching second place behind Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks went undefeated in conference play and clinched the Big Sky championship.
Montana State, Idaho State and Northern Colorado also earned berths into the tournament.
The Vandals will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, where the tournament will kick off April 27. The Vandals will begin the play April 28.
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill