Cougar Comeback Falls Short in Loss at UNLV
March 12, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Washington State's comeback bid feel short as UNLV escaped with a 4-3 upset win over the No. 65 Cougars Tuesday at the Fertitta Tennis Complex.
Trailing 3-0 and one loss away from losing the match, the Cougars (10-5) began the comeback from a huge deficit. UNLV (9-3) was one game away from clinching at both No. 4 and No. 5 singles as WSU's Andjela Kankaras was down 5-2 in the third set at No. 4 and Charlotte Koning was down 5-1 in the third at No. 5. At the same time, the Cougars' Liudmila Vasilieva was up a set and leading 5-3 at No. 1 singles against Aleksandra Josifoska, ranked No. 24 nationally. At No. 3 singles, WSU's Elizaveta Luzina was up a set but trailing in the second.
As Luzina and Vasilieva were heading to third sets, Kankaras and Koning were charging hard. After cruising to a 6-2 first-set win, Kankaras dropped the second 6-1 and trailed 5-2 in the third. The Cougar senior rolled off the final five games, giving WSU its first win of the afternoon as she defeated Anett Ferenczi-Bako, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5. Koning soon followed as she lost the first set 6-2, won the second by an identical score, then after trailing 5-1, won five of the next six games to force a tiebreaker. In the breaker Koning never trailed, jumping out to a 5-1 lead then putting the match away 7-3, winning 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 over Janine Erasmus. That cut the Rebels lead to 3-2 with two matches remaining.
After winning the first and up 5-3 in the second, Josifoska rallied to force a third set. After trailing 2-0, Josifoska won five straight before Vasilieva cut the lead to 5-3. Though she had chances to get to 5-4, Vasilieva could not overcome the deficit as she fell 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, clinching the win for UNLV.
At No. 3 Luzina outlasted Nives Pavlovic 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 for the final Cougar point.
After taking the opening doubles point, UNLV quickly extended the lead to 3-0 as it captured straight-set wins at No. 2 and No. 6. At No. 2 Lucia Batta, ranked No. 103 nationally, defeated Ksenia Googe 6-0, 6-4 while UNLV's Iren Kotseva defeated WSU's Lize Leenknecht 6-3, 6-1 at No. 6.
In doubles action to start the day, the Rebels captured wins at the top two spots for the opening point. Koning and Luzina were first off as they defeated Ferenczi-Bako and Kotseva, 8-4. Josifoska and Erasmus rallied from 5-4 down to win the final four games to defeat Kankaras and Googe, 8-6. The doubles point came down to No. 1 where Batta and Pavlovic came from behind to defeat Vasilieva and Leenknecht, 8-5.
The Cougars return to Pac-12 Conference play Sunday when they travel to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks. Match times is set for noon.
WASHINGTON STATE TENNIS
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