March 2, 2008
LAS VEGAS (SMU)--The No. 62 SMU women's won the doubles point and two singles matches, but was unable to overturn No. 33 UNLV Sunday. With the loss, the Mustangs slip to 8-5 on the season, while the Lady Rebels improve to 8-3.
SMU battled in doubles, winning a close match at No. 1. Natalia Bubien paired with Pavi Francis to defeat Elena Gantcheva and Kristina Nedeltcheva, 8-6. At No. 2, the nation's 38th-ranked pair of Kseniia Tokarieva and Nicole Briceno coasted to an 8-4 win over Alisa Razina and Anna Maskaljun. With the two wins, SMU took the doubles point to start the match with a 1-0 lead.
In singles, the Mustangs got off to a rough start, with Tokarieva defaulting at No. 3. Tokarieva was ahead in the match, winning the first set 6-1 and was dominating the second, 3-1, but was forced to retire, giving Nikol Dimitrova the win. Natalia Bubien, ranked No. 73 in the country, dropped her match at No. 1, losing to 23rd-ranked Gantcheva, 6-2, 6-2.
But Kristen Reid got the Mustangs back on track, taking a big win at No. 5. Reid battled through the first set, but eked out a win over Adrienn Hidvegi, 7-6. Reid dominated the second set, though, defeating Hidvegi,6-1. Francis kept it rolling, notching a come-from-behind victory at No. 2, evening the score at three all. Francis dropped the first set to Nedeltcheva, 6-3, but rallied to take the second and third sets, 6-1, 6-1.
In the decisive match, Briceno fought through a very closely contested match, but fell in three sets to Maskaljun at No. 4. Briceno dropped the first set, 7-5, but came back to win the second, 6-4. Maskaljun regrouped and pulled out the win in the final set, 6-3.
"We came out with a lot of intensity today and played our best doubles of the season," said head coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner
. "Kristen came up big for the second match in a row and Pavi overcame a slow start and played solid tennis for the last two sets. We caught an unlucky break with Kseniia, who was cruising to an easy victory when she was forced to retire, but that's tennis, and that's life. I'm very proud of our girls, who all gave a championship-caliber effort today, even if it is not reflected in the final score."
The Mustangs will be off for almost two weeks, resuming play on March 14, when they host Louisville at 4pm, and March 16 when they host Conference USA rival Tulsa at 1pm. For the complete schedule and results, log on to SMUMustangs.com.
#33 UNLV 4, #62 Southern Methodist 3
1. #23 Elena Gantcheva (UNLV) def. #73 Natalia Bubien (SMU) 6-2, 6-2
2. Pavi Francis (SMU) def. Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV) 3-6, 6-1, 6-1
3. Nikol Dimitrova (UNLV) def. Kseniia Tokarieva (SMU) 1-6, 1-3, retired
4. Anna Maskaljun (UNLV) def. Nicole Briceno (SMU) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
5. Kristen Reid (SMU) def. Adrienn Hidvegi (UNLV) 7-6, 6-1
6. Not played, UNLV wins by default
Order of finish: 6,3,1,5,2,4*
1. Natalia Bubien/Pavi Francis (SMU) def. Elena Gantcheva/Kristina Nedeltcheva (UNLV) 8-6
2. #38 Nicole Briceno/Kseniia Tokarieva (SMU) def. Alisa Razina/Anna Maskajjun (UNLV) 8-4
3. Not played, UNLV wins by default
Order of finish: 3,1,2*