Feb. 20, 2013
MADISON, Wis. – For the first five matches of the day, everything looked different for the Wisconsin women’s tennis team. But when all was said and done, the final result looked all-too-familiar, as the Badgers (1-6) fell to in-state rival Marquette, 4-3, at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Wednesday night.
The match started on an especially positive note, as the Badgers—who had dropped the doubles point in each of their first six games of the season—swept the Golden Eagles (9-3) to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
The big doubles victory was due in no small part to a shuffling of the doubles pairings by Wisconsin head coach Brian Fleishman. The moves aimed to bring Hannah Berner back into the lineup slowly, while also rewarding the recent doubles success of the Katie Hoch/Anastasia Tripolskaya pairing. All of the moves paid off for UW.
Berner, who returned from injury to compete in the No. 3 doubles match, joined first-time partner Helen Rabot in cruising by Aina Hernandez Soler and Aleeza Kanner, 8-3. UW’s momentum quickly built, as Lauren Burich and Lauren Chypyha’s No. 2 doubles debut was a rousing success. The duo quickly dispatched of Erin Gebes and Ana Pimienta, 8-4.
The win gave the Badgers the doubles point, but the teams elected to let Hoch and Tripolskaya finish their inaugural match at No. 1 doubles by beating MU’s Ali Dawson and Rocio Diaz, 8-5.
“Doubles was a highlight tonight,” said Fleishman. “All three teams competed and executed a game plan very well.”
Wisconsin took control of the match with quick victories by Hoch and Burich. Hoch got off to a fast start in the No. 2 singles match and never let up, burying Diaz, 6-2, 6-1. Burich pulled off a strong victory of her own, upending Dawson, 7-5, 6-2. The freshman showed poise in the first set, where she bounced back after a 10th game in which she was broken after 13 deuce points to even the set at 5-5. Burich responded by winning two-straight games, taking the second set, 6-2, to give UW a 3-0 lead in the match.
“I’m very proud of the results we got from our No. 2 and 3 singles spots tonight,” said Fleishman. “Katie Hoch is playing some great tennis right now, and Burich is getting better each match.”
Marquette responded in a big way, however, fighting back from the brink behind wins in the No. 4, 5 and 6. In the No. 4 match, Tripolskaya couldn’t get past Gebes, losing 6-3, 6-3. Vanessa Foltinger pushed Marquette’s winning streak to two matches after she beat Pernilla Wohlstrom in the No. 6 match, 6-1, 6-2, and Kanner evened the overall score at 3-3 with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Rabot in the No. 5 match.
Marquette’s three-straight wins set up a winner-take-all showdown at the No. 1 spot, where Chypyha squared off against Pimienta. With her serve off early, Chypyha dropped the first set, 6-4. The freshman came back with a hard-fought second set win, sneaking past Pimienta in a tiebreaker, 7-6(5).
As the match went into the deciding third set, both teams gathered around to watch. They were treated to a back-and-forth, intense rubber match, which featured four overrules of Pimienta calls by the ref and a major lead change.
Chypyha cruised out to a 3-1 lead, but Pimienta surged back to take a 4-3 edge. After Chypyha tied things back up at 4-4, Pimienta held serve to come within one game of the match. She would get the win after Chypyha’s final shot sailed wide, giving Pimienta the 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 win and Marquette a 4-3 win.
The loss stopped the Badgers’ winning streak over Marquette at 12 games, and followed a thriller in Milwaukee last year where the Badgers were on the other side of the coin, winning a 4-3 nail-biter.
Though the loss dropped UW to 1-6 on the season and extended its losing streak to three games, the doubles improvement, solid performance by Chypyha, Hoch and Burich, and the promise of Berner’s full return point to the possibility of significant improvement for the Badgers as the season goes on.
The Badgers aim to get back in the win column this weekend, when they battle Mississippi State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Minneapolis. They will cap off the weekend with a Big Ten Conference match against Minnesota at noon on Sunday.
Marquette 4, Wisconsin 3
|1. Katie Hoch/Anastasia Tripolskay (WIS) def. Ali Dawson/Rocio Diaz (MU) 8-5
|2. Lauren Burich/Lauren Chypyha (WIS) def. Erin Gebes/Ana Pimienta (MU) 8-4
|3. Hannah Berner/Helen Rabot (WIS) def. Aina Hernandez Soler/Aleeza Kanner (MU) 8-3
|1. Ana Pimienta (MU) def. Lauren Chypyha (WIS) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4
|2. Katie Hoch (WIS) def. Rocio Diaz (MU) 6-2, 6-1
|3. Lauren Burich (WIS) def. Ali Dawson (MU) 7-5, 6-2
|4. Erin Gebes (MU) def. Anastasia Tripolskay (WIS) 6-3, 6-3
|5. Aleeza Kanner (MU) def. Helen Rabot (WIS) 6-4, 6-3
|6. Vanessa Foltinger (MU) def. Pernilla Wohlstrom (WIS) 6-1, 6-2