Brigham Young University's women's tennis team withstood one of the University of Utah's strongest presses in the ongoing rivalry between the two schools.
The Cougars came out of singles with a 4-2 lead, then clinched the match when their No. 1 doubles team of Evi Koljanin and Sarah Mugnaini shocked the gathering of tennis patrons with a relatively easy 6-3, 6-0 win over Alison Bradford and Ruth Ann Stevens, recognized as one of the top doubles teams in the country. The final score was 5-4.The two split matches at No. 1 and 2 singles in similar fashion. Jennifer Holmes, a sophomore from Littleton, Colo., beat Bradford at No. 1, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2. Then Utah's Julie Kempin beat Koljanin at No. 2, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
Holmes admitted that Bradford played a better second set. "She was more aggressive and forced me to hit passing shots. In the third set I got more aggressive. I started to return better and hit deeper. That's what I wanted to do. You can't give her shot shots," she said.
It helped, too, that Holmes has played in several close matches that she's always seemed to pull out. This one she said she had confidence she could win.
Kempin told a similar story. "She played better in the second set. She changed her forehand. Then I didn't play points long enough. I thought I could hit anything.
"In the third I just relaxed and tried to forget the second set. I played longer points and waited for the right shot."
Utah's only other singles win came at No. 4 where Sharla Barone beat Federica Lentini, 6-1, 6-3.
For BYU, Mugnaini beat Susie Costa, 7-5, 6-0; Lesley Barbour beat Stevens, 6-2, 7-5; and Maddy Deikmann beat Stephanie Ball, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.
In doubles, Utah lived up to its reputation with straight-set wins at Nos. 2 and 3. Costa and Barone beat Lentini and Barbour, 6-2, 6-2; and Kempin and Becky Huereque beat Holmes and Anissa Robinson, 6-2, 6-4.
At the beginning of the season, Utah was ranked No. 20 and BYU No. 21 on women's collegiate tennis. This was the last time the two schools will meet before the WAC finals, May 2-4.