April 2, 2011
By Zak Gilbert
Athletic Media Relations
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – With a head of steam, Colorado State’s tennis team took its luck this weekend to the boxing capital of the world, where the Rams launched their conference schedule against two of the Mountain West’s heavyweights.
But CSU sustained back-to-back knockouts, dropping a 6-1 dual to No. 47 San Diego State Friday, and a 7-0 decision to No. 52 UNLV Saturday. Both matches took place at the Rebels’ Fertitta Tennis Complex.
“We played good teams,” said Head Coach Jon Messick, “but we didn’t raise our level of play the way we needed to.”
The losses snapped the Rams’ three-match winning streak and dropped CSU’s overall record this season to 7-7 (0-2 MWC). CSU had won five of its last six entering the weekend.
The Rebels (13-4, 2-0 Mountain West), who had turned away No. 68 Wyoming a day earlier, took all three doubles matches before sweeping every set of the six singles matches. But Messick thought the Rams at least started on a good note.
“On the doubles court, a third of the way through,” he said, “I actually thought we had a chance to win that doubles point. But we didn’t sustain it, and we couldn’t hang with them. We went away from what was working. I thought we missed an opportunity there. In singles, UNLV just came out and played tough. They picked up their game a notch there.”
All four of UNLV’s losses this year have come against ranked teams (No. 22 Oklahoma, No. 27 Mississippi, No. 37 SMU and No. 62 Florida International). UNLV also swept the Rams last year, en route to a 22-5 record and a berth in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
“It seems like UNLV’s style of play always gives us trouble,” Messick said, “especially in singles.”
San Diego State (11-6, 2-0 MWC) also gave the Rams trouble on Friday afternoon, the Aztecs’ seventh straight win.
CSU did have one bright spot, junior Tori Arneson. The Rams’ No. 2 singles player, she rebounded from a loss in her previous match and enjoyed the team’s best individual effort on the trip. The only CSU player to win Friday, she made quick work of SDSU’s Alicia Aguilar, 6-1, 6-3. Aguilar had won five straight singles matches, and hadn’t lost since March 9.
Then on Saturday against UNLV’s Aleksandra Josifoska, Arneson lost 6-4, 6-4, in the closest match of the day. She was the last CSU player standing in the afternoon’s longest match.
“She had a great weekend,” Messick said. “She won in straight sets against San Diego State in a very convincing win. Then she played that UNLV girl tougher than our whole team. She had leads in both sets. It was a long match even though it was just two sets. She had our best chance to win. We need the rest of the team to step up to that level. Had the rest of the team been playing to her level, we would’ve had a better shot at winning. It just didn’t happen.”
The road doesn’t get much easier for CSU, as the Rams travel to Provo, Utah, to meet BYU Friday, then battle No. 71 Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday.
“We have to refocus,” Messick said. “We have two more conference matches next weekend and we have to pick up our level of play quickly. That’s a priority for us.”
Including the Aztecs and Rebels, five of CSU’s eight conference opponents – all of whom the Rams are scheduled to meet in April – are ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
After entertaining Air Force in Fort Collins on April 23, CSU hosts the 2011 Mountain West men’s and women’s tennis championships April 27-30 at the Rams’ new University Tennis Complex.
Friday’s results (No. 47 San Diego State 6, CSU 1)
1. Roxanne Ellison/Sierra Ellison (SDSU) def. Tori Arneson/Caitlin Fluegge (CSU) 8-4
2. Alicia Aguilar/Julia Wais (SDSU) def. Lauren Mulhern/Kaley Schultz (CSU) 8-2
3. Julia Trunk/Emma Cioffi (SDSU) def. Veronika Wojakowska/Meliisa Holzinger (CSU) 8-7 (7-3)
Order of finish: 2,1,3
1. Julia Wais (SDSU) def. Caitlin Fluegge (CSU) 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
2. Tori Arneson (CSU) def. Alicia Aguilar (SDSU) 6-1, 6-3
3. Emma Cioffi (SDSU) def. Lauren Mulhern (CSU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Sierra Ellison (SDSU) def. Veronika Wojakowska (CSU) 6-3, 6-0
5. Roxanne Ellison (SDSU) def. Kaley Schultz (CSU) 6-3, 7-5
6. Laura Antonana (SDSU) def. Meliisa Holzinger (CSU) 6-4, 6-2
Order of finish: 4,2,3,1,6,5
Saturday’s results (No. 52 UNLV 7, CSU 0)
1. Nives Pavlovic/Aleksandra Josifoska (UNLV) def. Tori Arneson/Caitlin Fluegge (CSU) 8-4
2. Anna Maskaljun/Lucia Batta (UNLV) def. Lauren Mulhern/Kaley Schultz (CSU) 8-4
3. Jana Albers/Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV) def. Meliisa Holzinger/Veronika Wojakowska (CSU) 8-3
Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
1. No. 110 Lucia Batta (UNLV) def. Caitlin Fluegge (CSU) 6-3, 6-2
2. Aleksandra Josifoska (UNLV) def. Tori Arneson (CSU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Nives Pavlovic (UNLV) def. Lauren Mulhern (CSU) 6-0, 6-3
4. Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV) def. Veronika Wojakowska (CSU) 6-3, 6-2
5. Jana Albers (UNLV) def. Kaley Schultz (CSU) 6-4, 6-3
6. Anna Maskaljun (UNLV) def. Lauren Pick (CSU) 6-1, 6-1
Order of finish: 6, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2