April 25, 2013
By Stephanie Juncker
By Stephanie Juncker
FRESNO, Calif. --- The No. 53 Fresno State women's tennis team is seeking its first-ever Mountain West championship this week as the Bulldogs travel to the USAFA Tennis Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. for the MW Tennis Championships. The 'Dogs begin the tournament as the No. 3 seed on Friday, Apr. 26 against No. 6 seed Wyoming at 2 p.m. MT.
About the Competition
Wyoming (10-11) split its last two matches over the final weekend of the regular season, falling to San Diego State and then upsetting UNLV 4-2 on the last day of the regular season. The Cowgirls finished the conference season with a 4-4 record and in a tie with Boise State. Senior Alexandra Kovacs leads the Cowgirls in conference play with a 7-1 record at No. 3.
Against the Competition
This will be only the second meeting all-time between Fresno State and Wyoming. The only previous meeting came on April 4th this season in Fresno. In an extremely tight match, the 'Dogs found a way to win 4-3 on the heels of a gritty performance by freshman Rana Sherif Ahmed. In the first meeting, Fresno State won a close doubles point with victories on courts two and three and picked up singles wins from Ahmed (No. 1), Aishwarya Agrawal (No. 2) and Sophie Watts (No. 3).
The 'Dogs are undefeated at No. 4 singles in MW play
No. 2 and No. 3 doubles are both 7-1 in MW competition
The team is 36-18 in singles in MW matches, including 10-2 when the match goes to three-sets
When winning the doubles point, Fresno State's record is 10-1
FS is 3-1 on the season playing on Friday and 2-1 in neutral site matches
One more win would tie the highest total team wins (15) since 2009
The Bulldogs are ranked 53rd in the latest ITA rankings, the second highest of the season (52nd)
FS has won two straight and six of its last eight
Fresno State is led by three seniors who are seeking a conference championship to end a stellar career. Melissa McQueen (Whitby, Canada), Bianca Modoc (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Olga Kirpicheva (Moscow, Russia) have combined for 205 career singles victories, 47 team dual match wins, two WAC runner-ups and one WAC Championship (As of 4/22/13). The seniors have led a team comprised of mostly underclassmen this season to 14 dual match wins so far and a 6-2 record in Mountain West conference play.
Sophie Finds Sweet Spot
Freshman Sophie Watts has hit quite the sweet spot lately as she rides a 12 match singles winning streak into action the conference championships. The Hitchin, England native arrived on campus in January and has made quite an impact on the Bulldog lineup as she leads the team in dual match wins with 16. Watts has not lost and has only dropped a single set since the 'Dogs road trip to Arizona in mid-February.
Modoc Marks Down Double Digits
Following two doubles and one singles wins against SDSU and UNLV, Bianca Modoc moved into double digit wins in both doubles and singles in dual matches. Modoc has an identical record in singles and doubles at 11-10 this season. In singles, she has won four of her last six. In doubles, she and partner, Sophie Watts, have caught fire here at the end of the season as they have won seven of their last eight together and have only lost once this season at No. 2.
After many changes in the doubles lineup early in the season, the Bulldogs seem to have found a consistent lineup. Melissa McQueen and Rana Sherif Ahmed lead the team with 13 dual match victories, while Bianca Modoc and Sophie Watts are 8-1 while playing at the No. 2 spot. Olga Kirpicheva and Aishwarya Agrawal have teamed up at the third spot where they are 6-1.
McQueen Making History
Senior Melissa McQueen ranks second on the team this season with 14 wins in singles during dual matches and leads the team with 24 overall victories. Her 24 wins is the highest wins total of her career surpassing the 17 overall wins she recorded last season. With two wins over the final weekend of the regular season, the Whitby, Canada native set a new career high dual match singles wins at 14 which surpassed her total from her freshman season. McQueen has moved into the top 15 all-time winningest singles players in Fresno State history as she sits tied for 12th with 71 career singles wins with Cecile Boudais and Tinesta Rowe.
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