The Colorado State womenâ€™s tennis team made it to the quarterfinals, but couldnâ€™t get past the top seed in this weekendâ€™s Mountain West Conference Championship.
The Rams (10-14) were eliminated in the round of eight by top-seeded UNLV. The Rebels ended CSUâ€™s attempt at extending its post season, 4-0, sweeping in both doubles and singles.
Coach Jon Messick felt good going into the match as an underdog but didnâ€™t see the consistency of play that got the Rams into the quarterfinals a day earlier.
â€œGoing into the match the team had a good attitude and focus,â€ Messick said. â€œWe were prepared to battle even though they were the No. 1 seed, but for some reason we were not at the same playing level as we were (Wednesday).â€
In the first round of the tournament the level of play was there, as CSU knocked off No. 8 seed New Mexico, 4-3. After a five-hour affair Wednesday, the Rams punched a ticket to the quarterfinals and captured its first conference victory of the year in the process.
CSU took an early lead over New Mexico as the Rams won the doubles point when the No. 1 doubles team of Caitlin Fluegge and Tori Arneson and the No. 2 team of Lauren Mulhern and Kaley Schultz won their respective matches.
â€œI think the match was won after the doubles point; we played the best doubles we have played all season,â€ Messick said.
On the singles side, Mulhern dropped the first singles match, but Schultz gave the Rams a much-needed 2-1 lead with her singles victory Wednesday, despite some unpleasant weather.
â€œIt was touch conditions out here with the wind. Honestly, I was trying to get everything back that I could.â€ Schultz said.
In one of the closest matches in the tournament, it came down to the winner of the No. 6 singles match to send her team to the next round.
This responsibility was put on senior Melissa Holzinger, who did not disappoint. Holzinger swept her final three games over the Lobosâ€™ Laura Richardson to clinch individual and team victories for the Rams.
â€œIt was a little nerve racking to know that the match rested on my shoulders,â€ Holzinger said. â€œIt was exciting, though, that I was able to secure the win for my team.â€
Even with the season ending in a loss to UNLV, the Rams were ecstatic about their quarterfinals appearance and earning their first conference victory over New Mexico.
â€œWe all did it together.â€ Holzinger said.
With an impressive end to the season and returning over half of the team, coach Messick and his staff are confident in next yearâ€™s roster.
â€œI have a good idea on what we need to do in order to get better and improve for next year,â€ Messick said. â€œI am taking it as a positive step for next seasonâ€™s play.â€
Womenâ€™s Tennis Beat Reporter David de Besche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.