Apr 062004
 
Authors: Rob Bombard

Things had been going smoothly for CSU’s women’s tennis this

season, until the hated injury bug struck a star.

Before suiting up to face in-state rival Air Force last weekend

in a tournament in Albuquerque, N.M., No. 1 singles player and team

leader Dasha Zhurin sprained her ankle and was unable to play all

weekend.

“Losing Dasha made things tough for our team; any time you lose

your No. 1 player (it’s difficult),” said head coach Jon Messick.

“It created a lot of matchup problems.”

Entering the weekend, the Rams were riding a five-match win

streak and an undefeated start in Mountain West competition along

with individual winning streaks from Tatyana Ugorich and freshman

Emily Kirchem.

Despite being short handed, the Rams rallied to beat the Falcons

4-2 and move to 10-5 on the season. Key performances came from

Kirchem, who replaced Zhurin at the No. 1 singles position and won

6-7, 6-3, 6-2. Ugorich continued her winning streak as well,

defeating Air Force’s Gina Black to improve to 12-1 on the

season.

“The whole team stepped up and everyone stayed positive. We lost

the doubles point but kept it close, Messick said. “All in all our

teamed played very well.”

The next day the Rams faced Mountain West powerhouse New Mexico,

currently ranked 32nd in the nation. The loss of Zhurin proved too

costly for the red hot Rams.

“New Mexico was just too good of a team for us to be down a

player,” Messick said. “At full strength I think we definitely have

a shot, but we just couldn’t match up with them.”

The Lobos ousted the Rams 7-0, giving the team its biggest

defeat of the season.

“If healthy, I think we could make a good run at them in the

tournament, possibly in the later rounds, last weekend, we just

couldn’t compete,” Messick said.

The Rams will look to avenge their embarrassing defeat to New

Mexico when they return to action this weekend in San Diego where

they will face Mountain West opponents San Diego State and

UNLV.

“Both teams are well balanced and very competitive and should

give us a challenge,” Messick said. “Hopefully our team will be at

full strength by then and we can play our game.”

Zhurin’s injury is currently day-to-day, Messick added. However,

the senior will resume practicing this week and is probable this

weekend.

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