The Idaho womenâ€™s tennis team clinched a berth in the Big Sky Tournament Friday with a 6-1 victory over regional rival Montana.
The Vandals held the Grizzlies to a single point in singles play to improve the teamâ€™s conference record to 7-2.
â€œIt was important to come out and get the win today,â€ Idaho head coach Mariana Cobra said. â€œNow we know we are in the tournament.â€
Idaho gained momentum following a strong showing in doubles play.
The duo of sophomore Ana Batiri and senior Belen Barcenilla defeated Montana opponents sophomore Catherine Orfanos and junior Francis Dean 7-5 on the No. 1 court. The Vandal pair of freshman Marianna Petrei and sophomore Lucia Badillos clinched the respective doubles point with a 6-2 victory on the No. 3 court.
â€œIt is always nice to start with the doubles point,â€ Cobra said. â€œIt has been something we have focused on and will continue to work on.â€
Petrei continued her dominating performance in singles play with a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Dean on the No. 1 court. The win improves the freshmanâ€™s record to 17-2 in singles play on the season.
Freshman Celine Koets continued the trend for the Vandals by defeating Montana junior Hannah Sulz 6-2, 6-2 on the No. 3 court to extend Idahoâ€™s lead to 3-0.
Barcenilla sealed the Vandal win with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Cam Kincaid on the No. 4 court.
Freshman Lidia Dukic earned the only point for Montana with a 7-5, 6-3 win over senior Rita Bermudez on the No. 2 court.
Freshman Maria Tavares competed in Idahoâ€™s longest match of the day. Tavares earned a comeback victory against Orfanos after forcing a tiebreaking third set.
Badillos rounded off the Idaho win with a 6-4, 6-3 victory on the No. 6 court against junior Anabel Carbo.
The win provides the Vandals an automatic berth in the Big Sky Tournament in Sacramento April 29 through May 1. The only other Big Sky team to clinch a postseason berth this season is Northern Arizona.
â€œWe are excited to continue to build and improve over these last few matches in preparation for Sacramento,â€ Cobra said.
The Vandals will travel to Grand Forks April 15 to face North Dakota in a Big Sky matchup. The team will then meet Northern Colorado in Greeley April 17.
Josh Grissom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GoshJrissom