No. 23 Fresno State Captures Fifth Consecutive WAC Title
April 22, 2006
FRESNO, Calif. - Senior Lucia Sainz won in the third set of the deciding match to deliver the 23rd-ranked Fresno State women's tennis team its fifth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. The Bulldogs won the doubles point, but Boise State won three singles matches to tie the team score at three. Sainz came up big in the third set as the Bulldogs were victorious in capturing the program's sixth overall conference championship. Fresno State improved to 18-6 on the season, while Boise State fell 22-4.
"I'm so proud of these ladies," said head coach Simon Thibodeau. "They fought hard all the way to the end. It was a very tough environment to play in and Boise State's crowd was really loud. But we stuck together and showed why we're the champions!"
Sainz and teammate Katharina Winterhalter withstood a challenge from Boise State's No. 1 doubles team, before defeating the Broncos' duo 9-7. Freshmen Tinesta Rowe and Magdalena Tokarska won 8-6 at the No. 2 spot, while freshman Melanie Gloria and sophomore Jacqueline Haskett did the job at No. 3 doubles, winning 8-2. Gloria and Haskett improved to 17-1 as a doubles tandem.
The Bulldogs led 3-2 until Boise State's Hadley MacFarlane beat Winterhalter 7-5, 6-4. Sainz won the first set in a tiebreaker, then dropped the second set before taking control in the third to win 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2.
Gloria was the second to finish in singles, dominating Megan Biorkman 6-2, 6-2. Gloria improved her dual match record to 19-4. Sainz improved to 23-10 overall and 17-7 in dual matches, having won all three singles contests during the WAC tournament. Haskett also played well, defeating Jana Mackova 6-2, 6-4.
Thibodeau was named the Coach of the Year, while Gloria was named Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Gloria, Sainz and Winterhalter all earned first-team All-WAC honors in singles and doubles. Tokarska was named to the second-team in singles, while Haskett earned first-team doubles honors with Gloria.
The Bulldogs have won five straight WAC Championships and six overall with each title victory on a neutral court. The Bulldogs last hosted the conference tournament in 2001, but the team lost in the final to TCU. Now, Fresno State awaits its seeding in the NCAA tournament. The regionals start on May 12 at a site to be determined.
NCAA Women's Tennis
No. 23 Fresno State (1) def. Boise State (2), 4-3
Doubles (Fresno State wins doubles point)
Records: Fresno State (18-6); Boise State (22-4)