BOULDER The University of Colorado women’s tennis team swept Oregon, 4-0, Friday afternoon in the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center.
The win was the third in the Pac-12 this season, breaking the record for wins in the Pac-12 conference in school history. It was also the first-ever sweep of a Pac-12 team since joining the conference.
Colorado set the pace quickly with its fifth-straight doubles victory. After Oregon forfeited the No.3 doubles match, Sara Nayar and Megan Forster rallied to a 6-4 win in the No.2 doubles match against Julia Eshet and Rifanty Kahfiani to seal the team point. Annabelle Andrinopoulos and Monica Malinen were tied, 4-4, against Daniela Nasser and Paiton Wagner in the No.1 doubles match when the point was clinched.
“We’ve been on the other end of it and it is hard being shorthanded and injured,” said head coach Danielle Steinberg. “Oregon is still a tough team and we knew we couldn’t overlook them just because of their injuries. I was really happy with doubles. I think we’ve been getting a lot of confidence and finally things are clicking in the past five or six doubles matches. You can see us improving every match and that’s credit to the team. We have been working a lot and they are actually going out there and implementing what we are doing.”
CU took a 2-0 lead after Oregon forfeited the No.6 singles match following the doubles play. All three of the first matches went to 5-0 in the first set with Nayar down to Nasser in the No.1 singles match and Malinen and Andrinopoulos up 5-0 in the No.2 and No.3 singles matches. Malinen was the first to take the set, gaining the advantage on Wagner in the No.2 singles match 6-1. She finished off the match in the second set, 6-2.
“Monica’s season speaks for itself, kind of incredible,” said Steinberg. “I don’t even think she was happy with today’s match. It’s all a matter of confidence and she knows her game plan, it’s very clear, she knows what she needs to do and keeps it simple. Annabelle, I’m really happy she was able to get that win today and clinch it for us in a big Pac-12 match. She is another player that is showing steady improvement throughout the season and you can see her growing as a player and getting more confidence. That’s 90 percent of the game so it was really good to see.”
Both the No.1 and No.3 singles matches had huge comebacks in the first set. Nayar won the next five games to tie the set 5-5, while Andrinopoulos found herself in a battle with Kahfiani in a 6-6 first set. Andrinopoulos took the first set in the tiebreaker, seven points to five.
The match moved to second sets with Nayar taking an early 3-0 lead, but Nasser battled back to tie it 5-5. Andrinopoulos began to push and closed out the dual with a 6-4 second set victory to complete the sweep.
“We won’t prepare any different,” said Steinberg on the second half of the season. “We are going to take a couple of days off to get our mind and bodies ready for a tough stretch. Obviously, the California schools are the best in the conference, but we are going to go out there with the same mentality and work on our things and compete. That’s the main focus we have the whole year, to compete as hard as we can.”
With the win CU finishes the first half of the conference schedule with a winning record for the first time in Pac-12 history. The Buffs begin a tough final stretch next week, starting a stretch of five-straight matches against ranked opponents with a trip to Los Angeles against USC and UCLA.
No.1 Sara Nayar (CU) vs. Daniella Nasser (ORE), 5-7, 5-5 unfinished
No.2 Monica Malinen (CU) def. Paiton Wagner (ORE), 6-1, 6-2
No.3 Annabelle Andrinopoulos (CU) def. Rifanty Kahfiana (ORE), 7-6(5), 6-4
No.4 Megan Forster (CU) vs. Julia Eshet (ORE), 4-1 unfinished
No.5 Tallulah Farrow (CU) vs. Taryn Fujimuri (ORE), unfinished
No.6 Ky Ecton (CU) win by forfeit
Order of finish: 6, 2, 3
No.1 Andrinopoulos/Malinen (CU) vs. Nasser/Wagner (ORE), 4-4 unfinished
No.2 Nayar/Forster (CU) def. Eshet/Kahfiani (ORE), 6-4
No.3 Farrow/Ecton win by forfeit
Order of finish: 3, 2