MISSOULA, Mont. – Sophomore Lize Leenknecht rallied from a set down to post a three-set victory and propel the Washington State tennis team to a 4-3 win over Minnesota Saturday morning at the Peak Racquet Club. With the win the Cougars improve to 5-1 for the season while Minnesota falls to 4-1.
Leenknecht’s efforts gave the Cougars their first win over a Big Ten opponent since a 4-3 victory over Penn State early in the 2003 season. With the Cougars holding a 3-2 lead and trailing in the other remaining match, the outcome on Court Two determined the match. After dropping the first set 6-4, Leenknecht captured the second by an identical score. With the new ITA rule of playing a 10-point tiebreaker in place of a third set, Leenknecht jumped out quick and rode that early advantage to the end of the breaker, winning 10-4 and sealing the team victory.
Washington State trailed 1-0 entering singles and the deficit grew to 2-0 as Minnesota’s Julia Courter defeated Olga Musilovich 6-1 , 6-1 at No. 4, the first loss in dual play for Musilovich this season. From there it was all WSU over the next hour as back-to-back, straight-set victory by Maria Biryukova and Elizaveta Luzina tied the match at 2-2. Biryukova, at No. 3, posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jessika Mozia just before Luzina was finishing up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Tereza Brichacova at No. 1. The win over Brichacova, who entered the match ranked No. 65, marked Luzina’s second career victory over a ranked opponent, the other coming during the 2012 season against No. 87 Janine Weinreich of Nebraska.
The Cougars took a 3-2 lead after Dajana Ognjenovic withstood a later charge to defeat Aria Lambert at No. 5, winning 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6), setting the stage for Leenknecht. The final match of the day also needed a 10-point tiebreaker to determine the outcome, with Minnesota’s Paula Rincon Otero escaping with a 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 910-6) win over Charlotte Koning at No. 6.
The day began with double splay as the Golden Gophers captured the first two matches to earn the point. At No. 2 Pintusava and Courter defeated Biryukova and Musilovich 6-2 for the first victory followed by Brichacova and Mozia’s 6-2 win over Luzina and Leenknecht at No. 1. The No. 3 doubles match saw Koning and Ognjenovic trailing Lambert and Rincon Otero, 3-4, before the match was abandoned.
The Cougars are return to Pullman Friday when they host BYU in an 11 a.m. match at the Simmelink Tennis Courts at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.
WASHINGTON STATE TENNIS
Washington State 4 def. Minnesota 3
February 1, 2014
No. 1 Tereza Brichacova/Jessika Mozia (UM) vs. Elizaveta Luzina/Lize Leenknecht (WSU), 6-2
No. 2 Natallia Pintusava/Julia Courter (UM) def. Maria Biryukova/Olga Musilovich, (WSU) 6-2
Order of Finish: 2,1
No. 1 Elizaveta Luzina (WSU) def. Tereza Brichacova (UM), 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 Lize Leenknecht (WSU) def. Natallia Pintusava (UM) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-4)
No. 3 Maria Biryukova (WSU) def. Jessika Mozia (UM), 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 Julia Courter (UM) def. Olga Musilovich (WSU), 6-1, 6-1
No. 5 Dajana Ognjenovic (WSU) def. Aria Lambert (UM), 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (10-6)
No. 6 Paula Rincon Otero (UM) def. Charlotte Koning (WSU) 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10-6)
Order of Finish: 4,3,1,5,2,6