Feb 172003
Authors: Luke Cornish

The CSU tennis team furthered its effort to become nationally ranked by dominating visiting Creighton in its first home match of the season Saturday. The Rams won every contest and took the match by a score of 7-0.

“Creighton isn’t as tough as some of our other competition,” head coach Jon Messick said. “But they were tough to play against because of their inconsistency; it made it hard to get in a rhythm.”

That might have been the game plan, but Creighton failed to really challenge any of CSU’s players, only managing to win one set in all the matches.

CSU senior Sanja Hansson and sophomore Dasha Zhurin moved to 3-0 on the season with their singles victories.

“Everyone’s playing pretty well at the moment,” Messick said. “Zhurin especially was playing fine tennis.”

Zhurin only lost one game in her match against the Bluejays’ Deidre Senders, winning 6-0, 6-1. She was joined by sophomore Alex Paganetti, who also only lost one game in the first set of her victory against Senders.

The one set that a Bluejay was able to win was pried away from the tight grip of CSU’s Carla Pallares in the first set of her match in a tie-breaker. Pallares, however, went on to take the contest, securing a 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

“I was very impressed with (Pallares),” Messick said. “She lost the first set but managed to come back to win.”

The competition might not have been as hard as when they faced Nebraska Feb. 9, but the women on the team didn’t take anything for granted.

“What really pleased me was that the players never lost their focus,” Messick said. “It would have been easy for them to zone out but they maintained their focus for the entire match.”

The Rams can now focus on defeating Furman and Boise State when they travel to Colorado Springs to face the two teams Feb. 27. Furman is nationally ranked at No. 62 and Boise State is ranked No. 51. These teams figure to be the Rams’ biggest test of the season thus far.

They might be a test but Messick believes the matches will give his team a chance to slip into the national rankings itself.

“Furman’s going to be coming to Colorado Springs which is at 8,000 feet,” Messick said. “We’re going to be working on moving the ball around and playing at a fast pace to take advantage of that.”

These two games will help the Rams prepare for a tough conference schedule that will see them go face-to-face against a UNLV team that is currently ranked No. 20 in the country.

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