The Rams tennis home opener in front of a bleacher-filling crowd at Miramont Sports Center, 901 Oakridge Drive, did not disappoint s fans as CSU defeated the previously undefeated New Mexico State 5-2 and improved to 2-1 this season.
The match began in favor of the Rams, as they were able to get a point from doubles play after winning 2-of-3 matches.
"We won the (doubles) point. I think we did good, we just lost the number two doubles," said No. 3 singles player Carla Pallares. "Overall, everything is working out. We played solid."
The Rams then took their small lead into singles play and were able to turn that small lead into an insurmountable one.
"I am very pleased about the doubles play. It's nice to go into singles with that point. The team really fought for it. As a coach, that is all you can ask for," said head coach John Messick.
Among those who led CSU to victory were Mountain West Player of the Week (Jan. 17-23) sophomore Emily Kirchem. Undefeated in singles, Kirchem beat Lejla Porobic 6-1, 6-2. In doubles action, Kirchem and Zhurin improved their record to 2-1 by defeating Porobic and Sandra Mayr (Sun Belt Player of the Week Jan. 31-Feb. 6) 8-4.
The Rams also had other players such as Anne Anderson step up. Freshman Anderson had her first collegiate match on Saturday and was crucial in helping the Rams improve to 2-1 this season. Anderson won the second doubles match with teammate Pallares by defeating Anne Fagegaltier and Nicole Fintell, 8-6, which contributed to CSU getting one point for doubles play. In singles, Anderson defeated Nicole Fintell 6-2, 6-4 and put CSU up another point over New Mexico.
In addition to Kirchem and Anderson, senior Alexandra Paganetti also played a role in CSU's win. Paganetti went the distance with Violaine Rollet and eventually defeated her in a tiebreaker 7-5, 3-6, 1-0(3).
"So far, I think we are doing really well. We had a rough week and this is a tough team," Pallares said.
But perhaps the biggest factor in this weekend's game was the size of the crowd.
"We had the best crowd we have ever had and it really helped us," Messick said.
CSU's next tennis match is against Wisconsin at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Miramont Sport Center.