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Lobos Drop MW Opener to Air Force 4-0

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico had its chances, but a missed set point early in the match in singles proved costly as Air Force was able to sneak out a 4-0 victory that was much closer than the final score would indicate.  The Lobos dropped their third straight match and fell to 9-4 overall and 0-1 in the Mountain West while Air Force is now 12-3 and 1-0 in the league.  Air Force plays Nevada Saturday at 10 and UNM hosts Nevada Sunday at 11:30 am, both matches at McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium.

Deuce points were a running theme in doubles as Air Force took two matches there to sweep the point.  At No. 1 doubles, Vivian Glozman, a graduate transfer who starred at Virginia and was the reigning MW Player of the Week, teamed with Karina Chao for a 6-2 win over Yue Lin “Polly” Chen and Maria Sodre.  The issue for UNM was at No. 3 doubles, where Hsiang-Wen “Albie” Huang and Satoho Toriumi lost 6-1, but in that match they had a deuce point five times and only converted one.  That was critical as UNM’s No. 2 team of Hsuan Huang and Myu Kageyama were up a break at 4-3.

Down 1-0, singles saw Glozman take an opening set 6-2 from Chen at No. 1, and Toriumi won her first set at No. 6.  Albie Huang dropped hers at No. 5 6-1, but the drama was in the middle of the courts, as Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles all sat at 5-5.  UNM took just one of those opening sets as Sarah O’Connor won her opening set 7-5, picking up the win on a deciding deuce point.  At No. 4 singles, Kagayama had a golden opportunity as she led 5-4 and was at 40-40, giving her set point.  Her opponent Chao returned a ball and Kageyama went to hit it to the open cross court, but the ball ticked the net cord and fell on the wrong side, moving it to 5-5.  Chao took the final two games to take that set.

At No. 2, Hsuan Huang and Sydney Fitch waged an epic tiebreaker.  Fitch had set point at 6-5, but double faulted.  She then hit one long and Huang had set point at 7-6, but FItch saved it.  Fitch finally took the set at 9-7.

That put Air Force in the drivers seat and they clinched it with three wins.  Chen fell 6-2, 6-1 to Glotzman, and Kagayama couldn’t rebound, losing 7-5, 6-3.  Albie Huang looked to get back into her match, taking a 5-4 lead in the second set, but she couldn’t close it.  She was down 6-5 and 40-15, but battled back to deuce, but hit a return into the net, giving the Falcons the win.

O’Connor was in control or her match, and Huang looked to be forcing a third set, with Toriumi in a third set, making ghe match much closer than the 4-0 final.