Lady luck favored the CSU tennis team in Sin City Wednesday as it defeated New Mexico 5-2 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Championships.
The Rams fell behind early, losing the doubles point when New Mexicoâ€™s Manumea Durie and Kristin Eggleston defeated CSUâ€™s Lauren Mulhern and Tori Arneson 8-2 at the No. 2 position.
â€œWe came out a little flat in doubles,â€ head coach Jon Messick said. â€œSometimes itâ€™s hard to come back from that going into the singles.â€
From there, CSU won five of the six singles matches, losing only at the No. 1 position, all in straight sets.
â€œWe just had convincing wins on every court,â€ Messick said, â€œwhich really shows we improved from last time we played them. Plus, everyoneâ€™s playing at a good level going into the next match.â€
CSU plays top-seeded Utah, ranked No. 39 nationally, today at 1:30 p.m. The Utes finished the regular season 16-6, going undefeated in conference play.
â€œThe players really feel like theyâ€™ve got a shot at Utah,â€ Messick said. â€œThey feel like they match up well against the Utah players.â€
Earlier this season, Utah defeated the Rams 6-1 in Fort Collins. Since then, however, CSU has refined its doubles lineup, moving junior Caitlin Fluegge up to the No. 1 position with senior Laura Neal and sophomore Tori Arenson down to No. 2 with sophomore Lauren Mulhern.
â€œI feel like weâ€™re playing better doubles right now,â€ Messick said.
A win would put the Rams into the semifinals against the winner of the BYU–SDSU match Friday.
â€œGetting past Utah would be huge,â€ Messick said. â€œIf that were to happen, I think the team would believe they have a shot at getting to the final.â€
Tennis Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.