No. 3 seed San Diego State women’s tennis defeated No. 6 seed Colorado State by a final score of 4-2 in the Mountain West quarterfinals on April 25 at the Aztec Tennis Center.
In the doubles match, sophomore Nnena Nadozie teamed up with freshman Alicia Melosch while senior Jenny Moinard and junior Mia Smith defeated their respective opponents 6-2 to open the competition.
SDSU senior Magda Aubets and sophomore Abbie Mulbarger’s set against Air Force sophomores Emily Luetschwager and Priscilla Palermo went unfinished at 4-4.
With a 1-0 lead, the Aztecs and Rams entered singles play, where the Aztecs saw early success.
Nadozie had little trouble shutting out junior Nancy Ghanem in two 6-0 sets.
Head coach Peter Mattera was impressed by Nadozie’s performance and pointed her success to her record this season.
“She was rock solid,” Mattera said. “She’s had such a fine season, honored as all-conference… and today she kind of demonstrated why.”
The Rams quickly recovered, however, after Palermo beat Aubets in two 6-2 sets.
SDSU freshman Shakhnoza Khatamova responded to the defeat by taking down Luetschwager in two 6-4 sets.
Khatamova, who watched her teammates complete their respective matches after her own, said she took notice of the Aztecs’ effort.
“Everyone was trying their best. I could see the team spirit,” Khatamova said. “They were fighters today.”
Colorado State senior Emily Kolbow prevailed against Melosch – 3-6, 6-2 and 6-3. The Scarlet and Black retained a 3-2 lead at that point.
Moinard added her win total on the day and put SDSU through to the semifinals, defeating Rams junior Stella Cliffe in three sets – 3-6, 6-4 and 6-2.
Mulbarger and Colorado State junior Alyssa Grijalva’s set went unfinished after the quarterfinal was complete.
Moinard said she felt anxious during her match but found her groove in the last set.
“I felt a bit of pressure and my balls were going way too short,” Moinard said. “I knew I had to put the ball deeper, but I just couldn’t because I was stressed and nervous. But then I just had to find the energy and I did, luckily, because it was a close one.”
The Aztecs face No. 2 seed Air Force in the semifinals on April 26. The winner will play either No. 1 seed UNLV or No. 5 seed Wyoming in the championship game on April 27.
Mattera shared his two messages for the team following the quarterfinal win.
“One (message) was, tennis is a team sport. Be thankful for that. You survived and you won,” Mattera said. “The other thing we talked about was how we’re gonna have to bounce back physically, so we sent them off to the ice baths. This was a long, grueling match for some of them, and we need to come back tomorrow and be as fresh as we can be on our home courts to try to advance to the finals.”