Bengals Climbing Up the Rankings
LEWISTON, ID– The Bengals women's tennis team continued their road trip this week as they traveled to Cheney, Washington to face off against conference foes, Eastern Washington University, and Lewiston, Idaho to go against the Lewis-Clark State Warriors for the second time this season. The Bengals came out undefeated on the weekend, downing Eastern Washington 4-3, and sweeping Lewis-Clark State yet again to improve their record to 8-6 on the season and 3-1 in Big Sky Conference play, moving to 2nd in the conference standings.
In the Bengals match Sunday morning with the Eagles, we saw the Bengals start off strong, winning the doubles matches point as Lola and Sol O'Lideadha won the No. 1 doubles match 6-3, and Hana Cho and Leah Kuruvilla downed their opponents in the No. 2 doubles match 6-3. The Bengals took a 1-0 lead into the singles matches; however, Hana Cho could not keep the momentum going as she fell in straight sets in the No. 1 singles match. Tied 1-1 Megan Lang-Gould knew the team needed a big win in the No. 4 singles match and she provided just that as she won in straight sets 7-5, 6-3. Sol O'Lideadha followed this up with her own big W as she won in straight sets at the No. 3 singles match by a score of 6-4, 7-5. Leading the match 3-1 with a chance to clinch a conference win Lola O'Lideadha showed why she was voted Big Sky Player of the Week earlier this year, defeating her opponent in convincing fashion, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 and clinching the win for the Bengals. The Bengals' Leah Kuruvilla and Stefanya Shalakhova both fell in the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches, but Idaho State still came out victorious in the match, 4-3.
Head coach Gretchen Maloney had this to say on the win, "Some close matches today. In doubles play we had a bit of a slow start but figured out how to turn it around at number one and get the win... In all of the singles matches we had to work on our consistency and depth. Megan Lang-Gould was down 1-4 in the first set and came back and won in a tiebreaker and then played a solid second set. Sol O'Lideadha played very smart and was willing to be patient and work the point. Lola clinched for us. She turned her match around in the third set to come up with the win for the team. A lot of grit today!"
Idaho State had to bounce right back the following day as they were up against the Lewis-Clark State Warriors for the second time this year, the Warriors seeking to avenge the 7-0 beating taken at the hands of the Bengals earlier this season in Pocatello. However, much like their previous match in January the Bengals took it to the Warriors as they swept the doubles matches and continued to stay strong going into the singles matches. Idaho State put on a clinic as Lola O'Lideadha in the No. 2 singles match, Stefanya Shalakhova in the No. 3 singles match, and Leah Kuruvilla in the No. 4 singles match all won in straight sets. Sydney Morris and Olivia Mikkelson in the No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches went above that as both failed to drop one set in their matches, both winning 6-0, 6-0. In the No. 1 singles match Hana Cho was in a grueling battle all day long as she came out victorious in a three-set shootout 3-6, 6-2, 11-9, and the Bengals completed their second sweep of the Warriors this season.
"Played clean today, we set some goals and worked on them." Said head coach Gretchen Maloney, "Hana had a great match at 1...came through on big points."
The Bengals will conclude their eight-match road trip in Ogden, Utah as they take on another conference rival, Weber State, on Saturday April 1st at 1 PM.