The CSU women’s tennis team started the spring season strong with a 4-3 victory against Drake University in Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday. Unfortunately for the Rams, they could not repeat the feat, losing to the University of Nebraska by the same score on Sunday.
“I was very pleased with the win against Drake,” head coach Jon Messick said. “We were down and for us to step up and close it out was outstanding.”
The momentum swing was found from sophomore Tatyana Ugorich, who was playing at the No. 2 position and bounced back from a disappointing doubles loss to take the singles victory.
“Tatyana came from behind against Drake and that was really important for us,” Messick said. “For the team it was huge.”
While this was the first match of the season for the Rams, the Drake Bulldogs had already played five matches coming into the contest against the Rams. CSU, however, showed none of the rust the coach expected from the long winter break.
“Our overall level of play was excellent, with it being so early in the season,” Messick said. “They didn’t give up, they had to come from behind to beat Drake, but even against Nebraska they had a chance to win.”
The Rams played tough singles games all weekend and, in the end, were just let down by their doubles play. Against Nebraska, CSU lost all three of their doubles matches. Against the Bulldogs, only the top pair won.
“The problem is that we’re losing leads,” Messick said. “Against Drake we had a lead and lost it in a tie breaker. And against Nebraska we were up 6-3 and ended up losing it 8-6.”
Sanja Hansson, the lone senior on the team, won both her singles matches playing at the No. 1 spot on the roster. Those two wins put her at 14-2 for the year. Before this weekend, Hansson was ranked No. 12 in the Central Region, which spans 10 conferences and includes 33 institutions. That’s the highest ranking by a women’s tennis player in CSU history.
The Rams managed to dominate the top flights with the top four – Hansson, Dasha Zhurin, Ugorich, and Alex Paganetti – beating Drake’s top four. Hansson and Zhurin also took the No. 1 and 2 matches from the Cornhuskers.
“Hansson and Zhurin played as good of tennis as they can play,” Messick said. “Actually I take that back, Zhurin will get better, she’s only a sophomore.”
The head coach also took pleasure in seeing Paganetti play well despite losing her match-up against Nebraska.
“Paganetti had a really good shot at her girl,” Messick said. “Even though she lost that match she impressed me. The girl she played against has been beating everyone in the No. 4 position.”