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Lobos Shutout UTEP for Sixth Straight Win

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The New Mexico Lobos kept on rolling, and they did it by rolling right on through the UTEP Miners.  New Mexico swept all three doubles matches and all six singles matches to win 7-0 over UTEP, improving to 37-1 all-time against UTEP and moving to 9-1 on the year with six straight wins.

The match was UNM’s first outdoor home match of the season, and the Lobos played like they were happy to be outside, despite the slight chill in the air.  Doubles went the way of UNM, although it took a little while and was dicey for a monent.  What wasn’t dicey was the No. 1 doubles win for Yue Lin “Polly” Chen and Myu Kagayama, who won 6-1 rather quickly.  The other two matches weren’t quick, but UNM ultimately prevailed in both.  At No. 2 doubles, it looked fo rthe longest time that Hsuan Huang and Sarah O’Connor were in trouble, falling behind 5-3, but the tandem staved off two set points and were able to steal away a 7-5 win.

That clinched the doubles point, one that looked like Hsiang-Wen “Albie” Huang and Satoho Toriumi would do the honors, leading 5-3 on their own.  However, a break of serve meant a tiebreaker was in order, but UNM won that easily 7-3, and the rout was on from there.

UNM won the first 11 sets in singles to salt things away.  Myu Kagayama won easily 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4 singles, her 17th of the season and fifth in a row to make it 2-0, and Albie Huang also won handily 6-2, 6-0 to make it 3-0.  From there, it was only a matter of whether Chen or Toriumi would finish first, and it was Toriumi, who smiled all the way through her eighth straight win, winning 6-1, 6-2 to clinch it.  Chen won her match one point later at 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 singles to make it 5-0.

Hsuan Huang improved to 8-0 in the spring with a 6-3, 6-4 win, taking the final four sets to make it 6-0.  All that was left was Sarah O’Connor, who won the first set 6-2 and was able to battle back and force a tiebreaker after facing set point.  She faced two more set points at 6-4 and 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but she finally lost 8-6 there to Lina Sachica, forcing a 10-point third set tiebreaker for the match.  O’Connor fell behind 4-0, but then went on a tear.  She took advantage of a double fault, and hit a pair of wicked forehands out of Sachica’s reach, and then she patiently waited her out, taking nine of the next 10 points.  Up 9-5, she missed her first chance to clinch a win, and didn’t miss the second, taking a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 1-0 (10-6) win.

THe Lobos now head out next week to face Santa Clara and San Francisco to end non-conference play.