Singles play pushes Seasiders past Cougars

Singles play pushes Seasiders past Cougars

DENVER – No. 1 BYU-Hawaii women's tennis overcame its first deficit of the year to defeat No. 9 Columbus State 5-2 Wednesday in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Division II Women's Tennis Championships.

The Cougars (20-7) took the early lead when Olivera Tadijin and Reachael Williams defeated BYU-Hawaii's (23-0) Kanela Adamson and Jade Griffin 8-5 in No. 3 doubles. No. 1-ranked duo Nannan (Dallas) Zhang and Xin (Summer) Wen evened the match for the Seasiders shortly after with a commanding 8-2 victory over No. 9 Camila Tobar and Kirsa Utech.

No. 10 Min (Karen) Liu and Shu-Ying (Suzie) Hsieh faced off with the Cougar's No. 19-ranked Beatriz Leon and Giorgia Vitale in No. 2 doubles for the final point. The contest was tight throughout with the teams trading games to an 8-8 tie to send it to the tiebreaker. Leon and Vitale gave Columbus State the 2-1 lead with a 7-5 victory in the tiebreaker for the 9-8 match victory. It was the first loss for Liu and Hsieh this season.

BYU-Hawaii regained the momentum after No. 1 Zhang made quick work of No. 11 Leon 6-1, 6-1 in singles and No. 20 Wen added a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Tadijin moments later to give the Seasiders the 3-2 edge in the match.

No. 46 Hsieh quickly took the first set at No. 4 singles 6-2, but Utech earned an early 3-2 lead in the second set. Hsieh finished strong taking the final four games for the 6-3 set victory to seal the match. Griffin of BYU-Hawaii found herself in a similar situation at No. 6 singles against Williams.

Griffin defeated Williams 6-1 in the first set, but the second set was tightly contested. Williams had a chance to even the match at one set each with a 6-5 lead, but Griffin was able to grab the next game to send it to a tiebreaker. Griffin used the momentum for a commanding 7-3 decision in the tiebreaker to close out the win for the Seasiders.

BYU-Hawaii will face No. 12 St. Mary's (TX) in Thursday's quarterfinal match at 8 a.m. MDT at the Recency Athletic Complex. Live stats and video will be available online.