The Idaho womenâ€™s tennis team closed out the regular season with a successful road trip to Seattle.
The Vandals earned a 4-0 shutout win over the Redhawks at the Seattle University Tennis Courts.
Idaho earned an initial 1-0 lead in doubles competition, as freshman Marianna Petrei and sophomore Lucia Badillos defeated Redhawk duo Kristen James and Kailyn Skjonsby 6-1. Senior Rita Bermudez and freshman Maria Tavares clinched the doubles point for the Vandals with a 6-3 victory shortly thereafter.
Idaho head coach Mariana Cobra said she was proud of her teamâ€™s consistent improvement in doubles play.
â€œWe have come a long way this season in doubles,â€ Cobra said. â€œEarly in the year we were not getting that point. Obviously, it is a true sign that we have improved. We are a tough team to beat when we go up 1-0.â€
The early momentum was what Idaho needed to put the match away.
Freshman Celine Koets was the first Vandal to earn a win in singles play. Koets defeated Madison Maloney in two sets 6-4, 6-0.
Petrei followed her performance with a 6-1, 6-1 victory to mark the freshmanâ€™s 20th win of the season, which is one of the best records in the Big Sky Conference.
Senior Belen Barcenilla closed out the competition with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Barbara Carey to put the Vandals up 4-0. The two teams called off the remaining matches after the Idaho victory was clinched.
Cobra said the match served as a vital training tool before the teamâ€™s trip to the conference postseason tournament Friday.
â€œThis was a solid win for us before conference,â€ Cobra said. â€œWe wanted to get another match in before we head off to Sacramento. I am proud of the girls. We have a good feeling moving into next week.â€
The win improves Idahoâ€™s record to 16-8 overall and 9-2 in conference play. The Vandals earned the No. 3 seed in the conference postseason tournament, behind No. 1 Northern Arizona and No. 3 Sacramento State.
Idaho will likely face No. 6 seed Eastern Washington during the first round of the tournament. The Eagles hold a 6-5 conference record and are 12-10 overall.
The teams last met in April, with the Vandals earning a 6-1 victory in Moscow. The Vandals will need to earn three tournament wins to secure the Big Sky Conference title and enter the NCAA Tournament.
Cobra said she was optimistic about the teamâ€™s ability to win the conference championship.
â€œIt is going to be a lot of work,â€ Cobra said. â€œWe will have to show up each day. I think we are playing our best tennis of the season right now. We just have to go and take care of our business.â€
The Big Sky postseason tournament will begin on Friday and conclude Sunday in Sacramento.
Brandon Hill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brandonmtnhill