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Lobos Knock Off SJSU 4-2

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — UNM’s seniors got Senior Weekend off on the right foot. Myu Kageyama opened singles play with a win, and Albie Huang ended it, coming back from down 4-2 in the second set to win a 7-5 tiebreaker to clinch a 4-2 win over San  Jose State and give UNM its second straight win.  The Lobos moved to 11-8 on the year and 2-5 in the Mountain West.  San José State fell to 5-12 and 1-6 overall.

The Lobos will honor both Huang and Kageyama prior to tomorrow’s 11 am match with Fresno State.

The match in reality turned on the opening doubles point, which early on looked to be going to the Spartans.  UNM’s No. 3 team of Satoho Toriumi and Sofia Taborga had an easy enough time, winning 6-1, but at Nos. 1 and 2, it didn’t look great.  UNM actually lost the No. 2 match 6-3, and the Lobos faced a dicey proposition of trailing 3-1.  Polly Chen and Kageyama were down 30-40,a nd needing a break, but they teamed up well to push it to deuce, and then after a good return by Chen, SJSU was well wide, putting the set back on serve.

Chen and Kageyama would go up 4-3 and eventually 5-4 before breaking in the 10th, giving UNM a much-needed 1-0 lead.

From there it was basically a nailbiter and close all the way through.  Kageyama, fresh off the doubles win, finished first, winning 6-4, 6-1 to give UNM a short-lived 2-0 lead, because at No. 1 singles, Alba Pedrero Galindo beat Chen 6-3, 6-1 about two minutes later to make it 2-1.  The Spartans tied the match when Irena Muradyan survived a massive second set battle with Sarah O’Connor for a 6-1, 7-5 win.

That made it 2-2, but UNM had won two of the opening sets in the three matches left.  It was Hsuan Huang who pushed it to 3-2, taking down Rozalina Youseva 6-3, 6-4 to make it 3-2.  However, Albie Huang was down 4-2 and Toriumi was down 4-3 in the second set after losing 6-4 in the first.  However, she won the last three sets to force a third, giving UNM a little breathing room.  It wasn’t needed in the end.

Huang got the break she needed at 4-3, and eventually went to a tiebreaker with Lara Marco Mas, who in singles served underhand to help deal with a swirling wind.  Marcos Mas took a 3-1 tiebreak lead when Huang tried to race in an just touch a ball over the net, but it hit the cord and fell back into her side.  However, she got two key points, one on a double fault and went to the change-over at 3-3.

It was 5-5 when she forced Marco Mas into the net, and on match point she served it out, volleying everything deep. Marco Mas eventually couldn’t keep one of those volley returns in, hitting wide, and ending the match.

NOTES: Kageyama improved to 21-9 on the season, and she now has 38 total wins on the year … Toriumi and Taborga won their first doubles match of the year as a tandem.