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Lobos Stay Perfect in MW Play with Stunning 4-3 Win Over SJSU

by Frank Mercogliano

SAN JOSE, Calif. — It seems like each match, UNM comes up with a new way to win and a new set of heroes.  Friday against San Jose State, it was two heroes who donned the cape and put the Supergirl “S” on the front of their shirts and willed UNM to victory.

Down 3-1, Maria Sodre got UNM within striking distance and then Leonie Hoppe and Katherine Jhang dug deep and willed UNM to an unreal 4-3 comeback win over San Jose State, keeping the Lobos perfect on the season in conference play at 3-0, and moving to 14-1 on the year.

Hoppe, the Mountain West Player of the Week, looked every bit the part of that, teaming with Jhang to win their doubles match and clinching the doubles point.  They picked up a 7-6 (7-3) win at No. 1 doubles, which paired up with Maria Sodre and Hsuan Huang’s 6-3 doubles win at No. 2 doubles.

Up 1-0, San Jose State completed the first three singles matches to go up 3-1.  At No. 2 singles Irena Muradyan defeated Sarah O’Connor 6-1, 6-4 to even things up.  San Jose State also took matches at No. 5 (Jovana Babic over Maud Vandeputte 6-4, 6-3) and No. 3 singles (Cheuk Ying Shek over Hsuan Huang 6-3, 5-7, 6-1).  That made it 3-1, and UNM would need to win the final three matches, all of them in three sets.

The one with the least of the drama was at No. 6, when Maria Sodre won Olaya Iglesias 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.  That made it 3-2, and Leonie Hoppe ended in a 6-6 tiebreak to keep UNM in the match.

In the tiebreak she dominated, winning it 7-2 and that made it 3-3, but thre was one problem on the way to the comeback … Katherine Jhang was down 6-4, 4-6, 1-4 in the final set.  Jhang, who twice this season clinched 4-3 wins for UNM with third set wins in the final match (at Gonzaga and against Northern Arizona), did it both previous times at No. 2 singles.  This time she was playing at No. 1 singles, but was able to hold serve twice and get a key break to even things at 4-4.

Tied there, she again broke the serve of Carolina Millan, and then closed it out for the wild 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win.

NOTES: Huang’s doubles win was her 63rd, 14th in UNM history … Hoppe and Jhang as a doubles team in dual matches are now 11-1 …. Hoppe has a team-best 18 singles wins … Sodre’s doubles win gave her 20 for the season.