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Lobos Move to 10-0 with 4-3 Win Over Griz

by Frank Mercogliano

MISSOULA, Mont. — Head coach Vicky Maes probably wanted less stress on her 50th birthday, but she certainly will not complain about the result.  New Mexico won two straight after a 2-2 tie, including a comeback win from Leonie Hoppe and identical 6-4, 6-0 wins from twins Maud and Bente Vandeputte to defeat Montana 4-3 and move to a perfect 10-0 on the season.  The match was 4-2 when UNM clinched.

The Lobos will stay in the Big Sky state and make the short drive to Bozeman to take on the Montana State Bobcats at 10 am on Friday.

The Lobos won doubles by taking the final two matches after falling behind 1-0 as Maud Vandeputte and Sarah O’Connor lost at No. 3 to Grace Haugen and Rosie Sterk 6-2.  However, UNM took the top two slots.  Hsuan Huang and Maria Sodre won 6-4 at No. 2 over Olivia Oosterbaan and Maria Goheen, and UNM’s top team of Katherine Jhang and Hoppe won 6-3 over Kelsey Phillips and Hailey Murphy.  That gave UNM a 1-0 lead moving to singles.

Singles was a different beast with just four courts in Montana’s indoor facility with the temperature below freezing outside.  Things started out poorly as UNM lost the opening set in three of the four matches (Nos. 1-4).  Maud Vandeputte, moved up to No. 3, won her team-best sixth straight, winning 6-4, 6-0 ovr Haugen for a 2-0 lead, but that was quickly erased when UNM lost at Nos. 1 and 2.  O’Connor fell 6-4, 6-2 to Murphy at No. 1 and Jhang lost 2-6, 4-6 to Phillips at No. 2.

Fortunately, Hoppee turned the tides in her match, doing that twice.  Down 7-5, 2-1, Hoppe won five straight over Goheen to even her match.  After a 2-1 lead, she dropped a breaek and fell behind 4-2 before rallying for a 6-4 win and 3-2 Lobo lead.

The left it to Nos,. 5 and 6 singles, where the two matches were in the early stages due to hvaing to wait for other courts to open.  Bente Vandeputte won her first set over Oosterbaan, and Sodre lost a tiebraker in her first, but Vandeputte was on a roll and she ended up winning by the identical scor as her twin, winning 6-4, 6-0 to clinch the win.

Sodre finished out her match with Sterk, losing 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.