Utah State women's tennis (13-10, 3-1 MW) recorded its first win over New Mexico (9-9, 2-2 MW) with a 4-3 victory on Sunday at the Utah State Tennis Complex.
"New Mexico came in here; they had won 11 of their last 13 in conference matches coming into today," head coach Sean McInerney said. "They're a perennial power in the conference, and they are having a great season. It made it really sweet just alone beating New Mexico, but to have it on Senior Day and to have Sabrina (Demerath) and Maggie (O'Meara) play at such a high level was absolutely outstanding. The improvement that they've had in their four years and the evolution of the program by beating a team that we've never beaten, I couldn't think of a better way for them to end their home careers."
Before the match, seniors Sabrina Demerath and Maggie O'Meara were honored as part of Senior Day ceremonies. During Demerath's career at Utah State, the senior has become third in all-time wins with 130, No. 4 in all-time singles wins with 70 and fifth in all-time doubles wins with 60. During the 2016-17 season, Demerath was an all-Mountain West selection in doubles after going 13-2. Her 23 victories in doubles during the 2016-17 season ranks first all-time in combined doubles wins in program history. Off the tennis court, Demerath has been academic all-Mountain West, a Mountain West Scholar-Athlete and a USU Whiteside Scholar-Athlete in all her years of competition.
O’Meara is No. 5 in all-time wins with 126, tied for second in all-time doubles wins with 71 and tied for No. 6 in all-time singles wins with 56. As a freshman, O'Meara earned all-Mountain West honors in doubles after going 17-4, which ranks first in single-season doubles wins during dual match play. Off the tennis court, O'Meara has been named Academic all-Mountain West and a USU Whitesides Scholar-Athlete each year.
During the match on Sunday, sophomore Hannah Jones and freshman Sasha Pisareva defeated freshman Natasha Munday and sophomore Diana Wong, 6-4, at the No. 2 doubles spot. Demerath and junior Jenna Kanethen clinched the doubles point with a 7-5 win at the No. 3 spot against Bronte Murgett and freshman Lauren Rich. The teams played out the remaining doubles match with freshmen Hsiang-Wen Huang and Danielle Quevedo winning, 7-6 (2), at the No. 1 spot over O'Meara and redshirt freshman Alexandra Taylor.
In singles, O'Meara started the Aggies off with a 6-4, 6-3 win at the No. 3 spot against freshman Yue Lin Chen. Pisareva then won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, at the No. 1 spot against Wong. Sophomore Sophia Haleas lost, 6-2, 6-2, at the No. 6 spot against Huang, and sophomore Rhoda Tanui lost, 7-5, 6-4, at the No. 3 spot to Quevedo. Murgett tied the match up at 3-3 after a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Demerath at the No. 2 spot.
The match came down to court five where Jones was in the third set against Rich. Jones had won the first set, 6-3, and was at match point in the second when Rich came back to win it in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (4). Jones dropped just one game in her final set, winning 6-1, to clinch the victory for Utah State.
Utah State next heads to Boise, Idaho, to take on Boise State (12-7, 4-0 MW) for its regular season finale on Saturday, April 21, at noon. The Aggies and Broncos will square off for the title of the Mountain Division.
"Boise State we're playing for the division title," McInerney said. "This set us up to play for that opportunity to play for the Mountain Division. I'm really excited. We've never been in that situation. That match is, obviously, extremely meaningful. Boise State and us have turned into a really big rivalry. It's been a great battle over the last four season since I've been here, and it's 2-2 overall since we've started this new rivalry in the Mountain West. Boise State means a lot, and to have it mean a division title is really important to both programs. We can't wait to get to Boise and play as hard and as smart as we can."
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.