BOULDER - The University of Colorado women's tennis team marked a momentous occasion with their 4-2 win over Arizona on Sunday at the Millennium Hotel Harvest House. Not only did the Buffaloes earn their first ever Pac-12 Conference win, they broke a nearly two-year long regular season conference losing streak.
The last time the Buffs beat a conference opponent in the regular season was on April 11, 2010, when they defeated Kansas on their home turf. After 26 matches, the Buffs have finally ended the streak.
CU redeems itself after a 7-0 loss to Arizona in Tucson last season. The Buffs have now won three of the teams' last four matches. Colorado improves to 6-6 overall, 1-1 Pac-12. After defeating three ranked teams this season, including then-ranked No. 41 Minnesota, Arizona slips to 8-7, 0-2.
"It feels really, really great," CU head coach Nicole Kenneally said. "The players have done a terrific job overall, and they really deserve this win. I think it's a great day. One through six singles and one through three doubles had great efforts. It's the Pac-12, the best women's tennis conference in the country, with more national titles than any other conference. It's one of those things where you really have to come to compete to win matches. Today we came to compete. This team, as I've said after previous matches, continues to improve and get better every match. Today was an example of that improvement. We've come a long way since the first match this year. I'm excited for the girls. They worked hard and they deserve it."
For the seventh time this season, the Buffs jumped out to an early lead after claiming the doubles point. Julyette Steur and Erin Sanders got the ball rolling with an 8-4 victory over Smyth/Stubbe for their sixth win of the season. Winde Janssens and Carla Manzi Tenorio continue to lead the Buffs with dynamic performances in the No. 2 doubles position. The tandem has fallen just twice this season, raking in their ninth win after edging Austin/Hendrikx 9-8 (4).
Winde Janssens has been pushed to three sets in her last three matches, and for the second time in as many matches, she came from behind to claim a victory. As she did on Friday against No. 111 Desirae Krawczyk of Arizona State, Janssens dropped her first set, won the second 6-0 and clinched the win in the third. Janssens handed Kim Stubbe just her fourth loss of the season. After falling 2-6 in the first set, Janssens won eight straight games in the final two sets, pulling away 6-4 in the final set. Janssens earns her 13th win of the season (losing just twice this spring), and her team-high seventh come-from-behind win.
Carla Manzi Tenorio also earned her 13th win of the season, and 39th of her career, with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Shayne Austin. All but two of Manzi Tenorio's victories this season have been in straight sets.
Erin Sanders proved she wants her final season as the Buff to be a memorable one, clinching her team's first ever Pac-12 win with a three set victory over Akilah James.
"I think it's really exciting, just because it's the Pac-12, we haven't had a Pac-12 win yet," Sanders said after her match. "You want to go out with a bang and remember your last season, so it was quite a relief."
Sanders was down 2-3 in the first set when she surged back to win 6-3. Sanders lost a second set battle 3-6, but jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third. James responded with a three game run of her own to tie things up, but Sanders refused to lose, claiming the win 6-4 in the final set.
"I think for me and everybody else, it kind of just shows that we have lots of opportunities and we're here in the Pac-12, and it doesn't matter what the number is in front of the team we're playing, we have a shot," Sanders said. "We did it today and we can do it in our next match."
The Buffs hit the road for a five-match trip, where they'll take on four Pac-12 rivals and their final non-conference opponent. The trip begins with a visit to Los Angeles as the Buffs take on USC at 2:30 p.m. (MDT) on Friday, March 15 and UCLA at 2 p.m. (MDT) on Saturday, March 16.
Colorado 4, Arizona 2
CU (6-6, 1-1), UA (8-7, 0-2)
Sunday, March 10 Millennium Hotel Harvest House
1d) Steur/Sanders (CU) def. Smyth/Stubbe, 8-4
2d) Janssens/Manzi Tenorio (CU) def. Austin/Hendrikx, 9-8 (4)
3d) McRann/James (UA) def. Quevedo/Watrous, 8-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2*
1s) No. 34 Lacey Smyth (UA) def. Julyette Steur, 7-5, 6-2
2s) Winde Janssens (CU) def. Kim Stubbe, 2-6, 6-0, 6-4
3s) Laura Oldham (UA) def. Dhany Quevedo, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
4s) Erin Sanders (CU) def. Akilah James, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
5s) Carla Manzi Tenorio (CU) def. Shayne Austin, 6-1, 6-2
6s) Mazy Watrous (CU) vs. Susan McRann (UA), 6-4, 0-1 (DNF)
Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3, 5, 4*, 6