Open Announce
Frank Mercogliano photo

Lobos Battle No. 65 Fresno State Tough, Fall 4-1

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico picked Senior Day and the two of its eight players celebrated birthdays to play perhaps its best match of the season.  The only issue is UNM was playing its first nationally-ranked opponent, and in the end that won out but not until a massive effort by UNM had Fresno State on the ropes.  The Lobos snuck the doubles point with a pair of thrilling wins, but Fresno State survived in singles to win 4-1.

Prior to the match, UNM honored outgoing seniors Hsiang-Wen Albie” Huang and Myu Kageyama.  The Lobos dropped to 11-9 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West while Fresno State improved to 18-3 overall and 8-0 in the Mountain West.  The Bulldogs have now won 10 straight matches, but the Lobos made them earn this one.

In doubles, Hsuan Huang and Sarah O’Connor (one of two Lobos celebrating birthdays) lost 6-4 at No. 2 doubles. Somehow, UNM still won the doubles point.  First, it was Yue Lin “Polly” Chen and Kageyama again winning key deuce points, doing so down 3-1 and again at 5-5.  It looked like none of that would matter at the other birthday girl, Satoho Toriumi and Sofia Taborga faced four match points, two down 40-30 at 5-4 and two more down 40-30 at 6-5, both times with Fresno State serving.  UNM won all four of those points to force a tiebreaker, and then Toriumi and Tobarga went up 5-0 and cruised to a 7-4 win, giving UNM a 1-0 lead.

However, Fresno State took all six opening singles sets, including three that were sitting at 4-4, and took control of the match.  Chen lost at No. 1 6-1, 6-2 as Fresno State tied things up, and they took three more to close it out.  Only Toriumi was able to get to a third set, but every match seemed like a back-and-forth, long-rally type of match, as evidenced by the nearly three hour match time.

The Lobos head on the road for the final two matches before the conference tournament, facing UNLV and San Diego State, both in Colorado Springs.