STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
CEDAR CITY, UT – The Montana women’s tennis team dropped its final road match of the regular season on Saturday in Cedar City, Utah, falling to the Thunderbirds of Southern Utah 5-2, a loss that could prove costly for UM’s postseason ambitions.
With five conference losses (now 7-13, 3-5 Big Sky), the Griz will need to pick up a pair of upsets at home next week over Idaho and Eastern Washington, while taking care of business against the one-win Northern Colorado Bears to keep any hopes of a tournament appearance alive.
Montana’s troubles against the T-Birds began in the doubles round where The Griz couldn’t find any traction, dropping the point with losses on courts three (6-2) and court 2 (6-3) to put SUU up 1-0 early.
Montana’s fab freshmen led the way for the Griz in the singles round, with Julia Ronney and Bianca Bostrom each pulling through in a third set tiebreaker for UM’s only wins on the day, more positive signs for the future of the team.
The two wins weren’t enough for the Griz, however, having already lost the match with three-straight defeats earlier in the singles round.
Upperclassmen Lidia Dukic, Nathalie Joanlanne, and Catherine Orfanos each dropped straight-set matches on courts six, three, and five, respectively, to seal the win for Southern Utah.
Meanwhile, Ronney improved to 5-2 in Big Sky play in her inaugural season in the league with a bounce back win on court one, 6-1, 2-6, 6-1.
With the win, the San Diego native remains the only freshman in the Big Sky’s top five performers in conference play, keeping her in the postseason awards race.
Bostrom put in yet another steady performance for UM in her first season in the Big Sky as well, rebounding from a first-set loss to dominate the second and third set for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 win, putting her at 4-4 in Big Sky play on court four.
The Griz now focus their attention to a trio of home matches. First up are the defending Big Sky champion Idaho Vandals, who currently sit second on the league table at 6-2 (9-6 overall), starting at 9 a.m. on Friday morning, April 13.
Montana then hosts Northern Colorado the following morning, April 14, at 9 am., and will finish the regular season against Eastern Washington on April 15 at 9 a.m.
All matches are scheduled to be played indoors at the Peak Racquet Club south of Missoula. Admission is free of charge.
Southern Utah 5, Montana 2
4/7/2018 at Cedar City, Utah (Cedar High School)
1. RONNEY, Julia (UM) def. NASSIK, Ghita (SUU) 6-1, 2-6, 6-1
2. TANTI, Zoe (SUU) def. KINCAID, Cam (UM) 2-6, 6-3, 6-1
3. TOBRAND, Eira (SUU) def. JOANLANNE, Nathalie (UM) 6-2, 7-6
4. BOSTROM, Bianca (UM) def. COZZI, Daniela (SUU) 5-7, 6-2, 6-2
5. LOWRANCE, Mikala (SUU) def. ORFANOS, Catherine (UM) 7-5, 6-0
6. NGO, Alexandra (SUU) def. DUKIC, Lidia (UM) 6-3, 6-2
1. NASSIK, Ghita/LOWRANCE, Mikala (SUU) vs. KINCAID, Cam/BOSTROM, Bianca (UM) 4-3, unfinished
2. TANTI, Zoe/TOBRAND, Eira (SUU) def. ORFANOS, Catherine/JOANLANNE, Nathalie (UM) 6-3
3. MARTIN LOZANO, Laura/COZZI, Daniela (SUU) def. RONNEY, Julia/DUKIC, Lidia (UM) 6-2
Montana 7-13, 3-5 BSC
Southern Utah 11-7, 4-3 BSC
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (6,3,5,1,4,2)