Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ISU Women's Tennis

Match Recap: Women's Tennis | 4/16/2024 4:54:00 PM | Ryan Cheney, ISU Sports Information
Match Recap: Women's Tennis | 4/16/2024 4:54:00 PM | Ryan Cheney, ISU Sports Information

Bengals Win First Ever Big Sky Regular Season Championship

LEWISTON, Idaho – The Idaho State women's tennis team was searching for their first ever regular season Big Sky championship. After taking down top seeded Montana on Sunday, the Bengals would face Lewis-Clark State College on Monday in a non-conference matchup, followed by the University of Idaho on Tuesday morning. With a win against the Vandals, ISU would clinch at least a share of the regular season championship.

In the Bengals match vs LCSC, Idaho State would go on to sweep the doubles matches. The O'Lideadha twins earning the 6-4 win in the #1 doubles match, Asem Shoybek and Stefanya Shalakhova would win 6-3 in the #2 doubles match, and Olivia Mikkelson and Sydney Morris would earn a 6-4 win in the #3 doubles match.

In singles play, Idaho State would take control early and hold on throughout, as each Bengal player would win their singles matches in straight sets. Hana Cho cruised to a 6-0, 6-2 win in the #1 singles match, Stefanya Shalakhova would win the #2 singles match with ease, 6-1, 6-0. In the #3 singles match Asem Shoybek would win 6-1, 6-4, and in the #4 singles match was Megan Lang-Gould who would go on to win 6-0, 6-2. To round out the match Olivia Mikkelson would get the 6-3, 6-3 win in the #6 singles match, and Sydney Morris would earn the 6-3, 6-0 win in the #5 singles match as Idaho State would go on to sweep the Warriors, 7-0.

The following day, Idaho State would have one of, if not, the biggest match of the year thus far. Taking on rivals, the Idaho Vandals, the Bengals needed a win in order to bring home their first ever regular season conference championship.

Beginning in doubles play, the first duo to finish was Hana Cho and Megan Lang-Gould in the #3 doubles match where they fell 6-1. Needing both remaining doubles teams to win in order to earn the doubles team point, Stefanya Shalakhova and Asem Shoybek answered the call, downing their opponents in the #2 doubles match with ease, 6-2. With the doubles team point all coming down to the #1 doubles match, Sol and Lola O'Lideadha were fighting fiercely to stay in it. As they staved off multiple match points, the twins were able to complete the comeback and earn 7-5 win, giving ISU a 1-0 lead heading into the singles matches.

Beginning singles play, the first Bengals to finish their matches were Sol O'Lideadha who would pickup the win in the #3 singles match, 6-3, 6-2, and sister, Lola O'Lideadha, who also came out on top, earning the win in the #2 singles match 7-5, 6-2. Stefanya Shalakhova would just fall in the #4 singles match 4-6, 4-6, putting the team score at 3-1 in favor of the Bengals. Needing just one more win, Idaho State could smell the championship now. Asem Shoybek was the next Bengal up, and she would deliver. Shoybek would cruise to a 6-1, 6-2 win, clinching the victory and the Bengals first ever regular season championship. To finish off the match, Megan Lang-Gould would get the victory in the #6 singles spot 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, and after fighting valiantly all day, Hana Cho would fall in the #1 singles match 6-4, 6-7 (8-6), 4-6. Following Cho and Lang-Gould's matches, the Bengals would secure the 5-2 victory, and their fourth consecutive win over the Vandals.

Following the wins, the Bengals' record moves to 13-5 overall and 6-2 in conference play. With the win Idaho State clinches at least a share of the Big Sky regular season championship. Their first ever, and first championship win since they won the Big Sky Tournament in 1984.

Head Coach Gretchen Maloney shared how she felt her team performed in today's match, "The girls played with absolute heart and determination today. Lola and Sol saved multiple match points in their doubles match to comeback and clinch the doubles point, which gave us a lot of momentum going into the singles matches. Everyone brought their A game in singles and fought for every point."

The Bengals will now await the results of Sacramento State and Montana's matches on Saturday, April 20th to see what seed they will be in the 2024 Big Sky Championships. The Bengals can snag the one seed with a Sacramento State loss, or with wins by both Montana and Sacramento State on Saturday. The Big Sky Championships will be held in Phoenix, Arizona for the 8th consecutive year on April 25th – 27th.