The No. 64 TCU women’s tennis team will get a chance to defend its Mountain West Conference tournament crown after toppling second-seeded host UNLV Friday in the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships semifinals at the Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex. The Horned Frogs will battle No. 4 seed San Diego State in the MWC Championship match at 4 p.m. CT Saturday.
The evening began with TCU storming to a 1-0 advantage, claiming the doubles point with wins at the top two courts. The Frogs’ tandem of Idunn Hertzberg and Nina Munch-Soegaard got the ball rolling, cruising to an 8-3 win from the middle slot over the Rebels’ team of Alisa Razina and Anna Maskaljun.
The Purple and White sealed the doubles tally from the top court as Kayla Duncan and Katariina Tuohimaa, ranked No. 47 nationally, picked up a ranked win over UNLV’s 58th-ranked duo of Kristina Nedeltcheva and Jana Albers, 8-3. In the Frogs’ 4-3 loss to the Rebels on April 10, TCU failed to win the pivotal doubles point, falling from the first two courts.
The Rebels did not want to go quietly, playing in front of their home crowd. Maskaljun got the winning started, taking down TCU sophomore Shalini Sahoo from the fifth flight, 6-3, 6-3.
No. 50 Nedeltcheva continued the momentum for the Rebels from the top court, giving her team a 2-1 lead in the match with a 7-5, 6-3 victory against No. 56 Munch-Soegaard. UNLV took a 3-1 advantage in the match after Adrienn Hidvegi defeated Hertzberg at the No. 4 slot in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Again with the backs against the wall, TCU began to make its move. Sophomore Gaby Mastromarino, the hero from the Frogs’ quarterfinals win over Wyoming, picked up her seventh-straight win by taking down the Rebels’ Rumyani Terzieva from the No. 6 position, 6-1, 7-5. Riding her hot streak, the Tequesta, Fla., native hasn’t lost in singles since April 2.
Duncan would knot the team score at 3-3 from the No. 3 court, picking up a 6-0, 7-5 straight-set victory against Nives Pavlovic. The win marks the third in the last four matches for the all-MWC singles selection, who moves to 11-13 for the spring.
Coming in the clutch once again, Tuohimaa used her experience and knowledge to push the Frogs into the MWC Championship match, dropping Jana Albers in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. The Helsinki, Finland moved her spring record to 17-8 and picked up her ninth victory against a MWC opponent. In her three years as a Frog, Tuohimaa holds a 7-0 singles record during MWC Championship play.
“We all believed that we could win,” Tuohimaa said after clinching the win. “The doubles point was big and I feel like the pressure was off of us. It was a fun atmosphere with the big crowd and I feel like being the underdog was a big advantage for us, because they had more pressure on them.”
TCU improved to 9-16 overall on the spring and moved into the MWC Championship finals for the third-consecutive year. The victory improved the TCU’s record to 5-6 in the all-time series against the Rebels.
Fans can follow the live action of the tournament finale from the MWC Championship Central page.
No. 64 TCU 4, No. 33 UNLV 3
April 30, 2010
MWC Championships Semifinals — Las Vegas, Nevada
Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex
1. No. 47 Kayla Duncan/Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU) def. No. 58 Kristina Nedeltcheva/Jana Albers (UNLV), 8-3
2. Idunn Hertzberg/Nina Munch-Soegaard (TCU) def. Alisa Razina/Anna Maskaljun (UNLV), 8-3
3. Maria Babanova/Gaby Mastromarino (TCU) vs. Nives Pavlovic/Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV), 6-5, unfinished
1. No. 50 Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV) def. No. 56 Nina Munch-Soegaard (TCU), 7-5, 6-3
2. *Katariina Tuohimaa (TCU) def. Jana Albers (UNLV), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
3. No. 113 Kayla Duncan (TCU) def. Nives Pavlovic (UNLV), 6-0, 7-5
4. Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV) def. Idunn Hertzberg (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
5. Anna Maskaljun (UNLV) def. Shalini Sahoo (TCU), 6-3, 6-3
6. Gaby Mastromarino (TCU) def. Rumyana Terzieva (UNLV), 6-1, 7-5
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1*); Singles (5, 1, 4, 6, 3, 2*)
*—clinched team victory