Tennis: Utes Sweep Home Opening Weekend

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Sophmore Brianna Turley and Junior Margo Pletcher compete in a doubles match at the Eccles Tennis Center Feb 19, 2017. Adam Fondren for the Daily Utah Chronicle.

The Utah women’s tennis team notched two important wins in their first weekend at home.

The Utes defeated the Lobos 5-2 in the home opener of the season on Feb. 17. In doubles play, Taylor Calton and Jena Cheng defeated Rachana Bhat and Andrea LeBlanc, 6-1, while Whitney Turley and Alexia Petrovic beat Cassie Chung and Diana Wong, also with a score of 6-1.

In singles play, the Utes notched four wins with Margo Pletcher and Brianna Turley winning heated battles, each of which went the full three sets. Brianna Turley’s match was the longest of the day as she won 7-6, 3-6, 7-6.  Petrovich and Cheng also recorded victories in singles, with Petrovich winning 6-0,6-3 and Cheng winning 6-2,6-3.

Coming off the victory against Mexico, the Utes were poised for a big match against a quality Big 10 opponent in Wisconsin on Feb. 19 Utah came out firing during doubles play, with wins from Brianna Turley and Pletcher, Cheng and Calton, and Whitney Turley and Petrovic.

With the doubles point secured, the Utes continued to put the hurt on the Badgers in singles play. Three Utes put their opponents away in consecutive sets, clinching the match for Utah before the rest of the matches could be completed. Petrovich, Whitney Turley and Calton all finished singles play with 6-1,6-1 victories. The match for the elder Turley sister never made it out of the first set, with Turley leading 7-6 when play ended. Cheng faced a formidable opponent in Kendall Kirsch for the fourth spot. Kirsch was leading set one 4-0 when Cheng came back to take the victory. She was dominating set two 5-0 when play ended.

“Today was our sixth victory in a row over a Big 10 opponent, and that feels really good,” said head coach Mat Iandolo, ” A win like today really shows how far our program has come.”

The weekend’s victories were a needed rebound from the difficult 5-2 loss against Fresno State earlier in the month. The Utes were unable to get any rhythm going against the Bulldogs, and as such were only able to notch two singles victories and one doubles win. The two-week break in competition gave the Utes plenty of time to learn from their mistakes and to bounce back regain a winning record.

The Utes will have little time to enjoy their victory as they travel to Montgomery Ala. on Feb. 24 for the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic. The two-day event will feature eight of the top women’s tennis programs in the nation.

b.marshall@dailyutahchronicle.com

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