BOULDER--After a rip-roaring start, the CU tennis team held on late to clinch their second consecutive victory on Friday night, 4-3 over #57 Denver at the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center.
After starting the afternoon with decisive victories in each of the first two doubles matches and then also taking the first two singles matches with relative ease, the Buffs began to hit a bump in the road. Denver’s Pioneers then took the next two singles matches and just as CU began to sweat, senior Carla Manzi Tenorio clinched the win with a 6-3, 6-2 win in the fifth. With the win the Buffs up their record to 5-3 as they prepare for a key matchup with yet another nationally ranked team on Sunday.
“I’m happy for our seniors and I’m very happy for Carla,” said head coach Nicole Kenneally. “It was a great opportunity for her to feel that sensation of being the one who clinched the win in a tight match. I’m definitely happy and proud of how well we competed today against a good team.”
The victory, CU’s first over rival DU in their last four meetings, began with Winde Janssens and Nuria Ormeno Ruiz cruising their way to an 8-4 victory in the first. That performance was immediately followed up by an impressive 8-0 shutout win by Ashley Tiefel and Julyette Steur, which upped the duo’s team-best doubles record to 11-3.
Janssens and Steur got the singles portion of the competition off to a quick start with straight set victories and it appeared CU might be on the verge of a laugher. The Pioneers then began to stem the tide as CU underclassmen Alex Aiello and Ruiz fell in the next two. But, it was Manzi Tenorio’s impressive win in the fifth that finally elevated the Buffs into what turned out to be as hard-fought a victory as any the team has had all season. DU took the final match as Dhany Quevedo fell in a second-set tiebreak which, although it did not affect the outcome, capped an impressive showing by a Pioneers team that rallied nicely after it looked as if they may have been on the brink of being knocked out early.
“I think today was a great example of a team win,” said Kenneally. “They are a quality opponent and for us to start the way we did was impressive. They recovered and played well but I’m just happy we won and now we can look forward to Sunday.”
CU has now won 29 of the 39 all-time meetings between the two schools but, the series has been anything but one-sided in recent years and Friday was yet another example. The schools have split their 14 meetings since 2001 right down the middle with each side winning seven. DU’s three wins in the previous three meetings meant this was the CU senior’s final chance to get a victory over one of their closest and fiercest rivals. In that sense it was only appropriate that seniors Manzi and Janssens would play such a prominent role in such an important win.
Manzi Tenorio's win now gives her 104 singles and doubles wins combined during her impressive college career as she continues to climb up the school’s all-time wins list.
“They played great,” said Kenneally. “At different positions we’re winning and it’s not always the same people which makes it even more special. Our seniors have been great all year.”
After consecutive victories over Front Range schools Wyoming and DU, the Buffs will now turn their attention to a solid Wichita State squad which will come into Boulder ranked 54th nationally.
“We’re excited but we have to put this one behind us quick because we still have a lot of season to play,” said Kenneally. “We’ve got a great match against another nationally ranked team upcoming. So, we’ll get a good day of practice in tomorrow and get ready for that. I’m happy for the girls but I’m ready for Sunday.”
Colorado 4, No. 57 Denver 3
CU (5-3), DU (2-5)
Rocky Mountain Tennis Center at Millennium Harvest House
Friday, Feb. 21, Boulder, Colo.
1d) Janssens/Ormeno Ruiz (CU) def. Slattery/Garpenlov (DU) 8-4
2d) Manzi Tenorio/Aiello (CU) vs. Hughes/Radosevic (DU) 6-5 (DNF)
3d) Steur/Ashley Tiefel (CU) def. Schnell/Dunn (DU) 8-0
Order of Finish: 3,1*
1s) Julyette Steur (CU) def. Caroline Schnell (DU) 6-4, 6-4
2s) Maureen Slattery (DU) def. Alex Aiello (CU) 6-2, 7-5
3s) Winde Janssens (CU) def. Kathryn Hughes (DU) 7-6, 6-2
4s) Sonja Radosevic (DU) def. Nuria Ormeno Ruiz (CU) 6-1, 6-2
5s) Carla Manzi Tenorio (CU) def. Charlotte Derbyshire (DU) 6-3, 6-2
6s) Evy Van Genechten (DU) def. Dhany Quevedo (CU) 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2 ,4, 5*, 6