`Dogs Win WAC Title in Dramatic Fashion
April 25, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - The No. 16 Fresno State women's tennis team survived the biggest scare of its WAC Championship run, when it narrowly ousted No. 36 Boise State, 4-3, in the title match on Saturday in Honolulu, Hawai'i.
"Obviously, we are happy to win our conference tournament," head coach Simon Thibodeau said. "I credit Boise State for their incredible match. This is a positive lesson that will need to bring with us to the NCAA Tournament -- to play each point like it's the last one, and reminding to stay focused at all times."
The Bulldogs started strong by winning the doubles point. The nation's top-ranked duo of Anastasia Petukhova and Renata Kucerkova turned away the Broncos' Pichittra Thongdach and Lauren Megale, 8-3. No. 13 Tinesta Rowe and Melanie Gloria clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 victory over Vivien Silfany and Klaudia Wlodarczyk.
The Broncos came out motivated for singles and won the first set in five of the six matches, to make things interesting.
Boise State tied the team score at one match apiece, before First Team All-WAC member, No. 66 Kucerkova put the Bulldogs ahead again with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over WAC Freshman of the Year Vivien Silfany.
Undeterred, the Broncos won two matches to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
Petukhova defeated Lauren Megale, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, to even the team score at 3-3.
Pola won a dramatic, three-set battle with Klaudia Wlodarczyk, 2-6, 6-1, 7-5, to give the Bulldogs their eighth-straight WAC Championship and automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.
"Our freshman, Laura, showed nerves of steel," Thibodeau said. "I'm proud of her for the maturity she showed under pressure."
The Bulldogs will now have to wait until Tuesday for the NCAA Selection Show to find out their seed, who they are playing, if and who they will be hosting for the Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
The selection show is aired on ESPNews at 2:20 p.m. PT for both the women's and men's tennis teams. Fresno State will be hosting a selection show party at the Red Zone Sports Bar located at 1552 E. Champlain Dr. in Fresno, Calif.
NCAA WOMEN'S TENNIS
2009 WAC All-Tournament Team
"Join the State - Fresno State" - Support the Bulldogs as they travel to Honolulu, Hawai'i, for the WAC Championships from April 23-25. Follow the 'Dogs throughout the season on www.gobulldogs.com.