Bengals Finish Homestand 1-1
POCATELLO, ID– The Idaho State women's tennis team returned home this weekend for their final two home matches of the season. In the Bengals first match on Friday afternoon, they took down conference foes, Sacramento State, and in their second match on Sunday they fell to the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks, 6-1. The Bengals came out 1-1 on the weekend to move their record to 9-8 on the season and 4-3 in Big Sky Conference play, sitting in 3rd place in the conference standings with just one game remaining.
In the Bengals match Friday with the Hornets, we saw the Bengals start off strong, sweeping the doubles matches. Lola and Sol O'Lideadha put on a show in the No. 1 doubles match winning 6-3, Hana Cho and Leah Kuruvilla downed their opponents in the No. 2 doubles match handily, 6-3, and Sydney Morris and Megan Lang-Gould came out victorious in the No. 3 doubles match 6-4. The Bengals took a 1-0 lead into the singles matches, and looked to keep the momentum going. Lola O'Lideadha kept up the pace, cruising to a straight set victory against her Hornet opponent in the No. 2 doubles match 6-2, 6-4. The Bengals led the match 2-0, but the lead would not be safe for long. After Lola O'Lideadha's No. 2 singles win the Bengals fell in the No. 3 and No. 4 singles matches, tying the match at 2 team points apiece. Hana Cho gave everything she had to the team as she played through injury in the final set of her match, but could not complete the comeback as she fell in a heartbreaking third set tiebreak 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (5-7). Now trailing 3-2 Idaho State knew the pressure was on as they could not afford to lose another singles match if they wanted to come out victorious. Leah Kuruvilla took care of business as she had no problem handling her matchup in the No. 5 singles match, winning in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. After Kuruvilla's victory it all came down to Stefanya Shalakhova in the No. 6 singles match. Shalakhova put the team on her back as she stepped up in the clutch, winning 6-3, 6-4. Idaho State came out victorious in a thriller, downing Sacramento State 4-3.
Idaho State had a tough task ahead of them on Sunday as they went up against the No. 73 team in the country, Northern Arizona. The Bengals pounced on the Lumberjacks to begin the match as they won the doubles point behind the victories from the No. 1 doubles team of Lola and Sol O'Lideadha, winning 7-6 (7-2), and the No. 2 doubles team of Leah Kuruvilla and Hana Cho as they won 6-4. However, the Bengals would not get much going after this, as the Lumberjacks swept the Bengals in the singles matches and won the match 6-1. In the No. 2 singles match Lola O'Lideadha fought hard but fell in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 4-6, and in the No. 5 singles match Leah Kuruvilla battled until the very end, but was unable to come from behind and take down her opponent, falling in a third set shootout, 4-6, 7-5, 9-11.
Head coach Gretchen Maloney had this to say on the match, "They are a very good team and we definitely had to bring our A game. In doubles we really played how we wanted to and set ourselves up, positioning wise, to make the right play. In singles play, they put a lot of pressure on us with the first ball, so it was hard to set up our offense."
The Bengals will play in their final regular season match this Saturday, April 15th in Bozeman, Montana as they take on the Montana State Bobcats at 10 AM.