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No. 75 Lobos Sweep UCR, UCI to Move to 8-0

by Frank Mercogliano

RIVERSIDE/IRVINE, Calif. — The newly christened No. 75 New Mexico Lobo women’s tennis team certainly looked the part, traveling to California and handing out a pair of 4-0 shutouts of UC Riverside and UC Irvine, running the teams’ record to a perfect 8-0 to start the season.

It’s the best start since the 1998 team started 12-0.  UNM gets a shot at winning No. 9 on Sunday when it hosts the UTEP Miners at 11 am.

The day started with a 9 am Pacific time match at UC Riverside, and the Lobos handled the Highlanders with relative ease.  Head coach Vicky Maes switched up UNM’s No. 3 doubles team, pairing Maud Vandeputte with Sarah O’Connor, and they responded with a 6-0 whitewashing of Niki Shahbazi and Sydney Tran.

The No. 1 doubles team of Leonie Hoppe and Katherine Jhang beat Brionna Nguyen and Kamya Nair 6-1 to clinch the point.

Up 1-0, UNM took three singles matches quickly to put the first of two away.  Leonie Hoppe won her second perfect match of the season, winning 6-0, 6-0 to make it 2-0.

Katherine Jhang, looking fully healthy after her miracle win last week, had no issue with Maya Youssef at No. 2 singles, winning 6-2, 6-3, and Maud Vandeputte won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 4 to make it 4-0.

With that, the Lobos loaded up the vans and made the 45-minute trek down CA-91 and CA-55 to Irvine for a 2 pm match.

Again, no issues as UNM swept away the Anteaters.  Jhang and Hoppe won a sixth straight doubles match as they stayed perfect in the spring to clinch the doubles point, winning 6-4 over sisters Carolyna and Emily Fowler.  The opening point was picked up by Hsuan Huang and Maria Sodre, who won 6-0 over Kayla Meraz and Jenna Schlatter.

UNM again mixed up doubles at No. 3, pairing Maud Vandputte with Sofia Taborga, and that match was 4-4 when doubles ended.

UNM then took control with four opening-set singles wins, and they cruised from there.  Maud Vandeputte won her second of the day, this 6-1, 6-4 over Perez, and Hoppe followed right behind her with a 6-2, 6-3 win.

With three other matches in a third set, Sarah O’Connor ended it with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) win at No. 1 over Schlatter for the 4-0 win.

NOTES: Maud Vandeputte has now won four straight singles matches, and her 12 wins ties with Leonie Hoppe for the team lead … Maud’s 7-1 mark is tops in the spring … UNM is 31-10 in the spring in singles … The Lobos have lost just three doubles matches in their eight duals, going 17-3 … Hoppe’s 14 doubles wins lead the team.