UTEP tennis falls short against NMSU


Sophomore Veronika Lebisova defeated NMSU sophomore Bella Nguyen in a straight set match, 6-0, 6-3, on April 10. Photo courtesy of Ruben Ramirez.

Katrina Villarreal, Staff Reporter

The UTEP tennis team (6-10, 0-0 Conference USA) was defeated by New Mexico State University (6-14, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) on Sunday, April 10, at the El Paso Tennis Club in the Battle of I-10, with a final score of 4-3. The Miners won the doubles point along with winning a few of the singles matches, but NMSU would not go down without a fight and came back for the win by winning most of the singles matches.  

In the singles matches, NMSU won four of the six against the Miners. The Miners lost the first three singles when senior Kathleen Percegona was defeated by NMSU junior Chole Gavino, 4-6, 4-6. In the second singles match, freshman Carlotta Mencaglia was defeated by NMSU freshman Mingfang Zhu, 5-7, 2-6. Senior Lina Sachica was defeated in the third singles match against NMSU sophomore Natsuki Nishimura, 6-1, 6-7, 6-7. 

The Miners were able to come back to win the fourth and fifth singles matches, when sophomore Elena Dibattista defeated NMSU senior Gavi Kalaga in a three-set match, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4. In the fifth singles match, sophomore Veronika Lebisova defeated NMSU sophomore Bella Nguyen in a straight set match, 6-0, 6-3. In the last singles match, junior Thassane Abrahim was defeated by NMSU redshirt senior Miranda Bishard in a three-set match, 7-6, 4-6, 4-6.  

In doubles matches the Miners were unstoppable. The first doubles match was all Abrahim and Lebisova as they teamed up to defeat NMSU’s Gavino and Zhu with a match score of 6-2, giving the Miners a strong start in the start of the doubles. Dibattista and Percegona defeated NMSU’s Bishard and Nguyen in the third doubles match with a match score of 6-3, continuing the Miners wins in the doubles competition. 

The second doubles match was junior Eve Daniels and Mencaglia against NMSU’s Kalaga and Nishimura. Daniels and Mencaglia were leading against Kalaga and Nishimura, 5-4, but the match went unfinished, and the match was decided with the team point.  

“Today was a battle the entire way through,” UTEP Tennis Head Coach Ivan Fernandez said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. I am very proud of how hard we fought today. It’s unfortunate that it came out the way it did, but I really loved the energy that the team played with today.” 

UTEP tennis returns to the El Paso Tennis Club to wrap up the regular season at home when they meet Seward County Community College at 11 a.m. Friday, April 15, and the University of the Southwest at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 17. The Conference USA tournament will be April 21-24 in Murfreesboro, Tennesse. Admission is free for students and the public for the matches taking place April 15 and 17. 

All stats for NMSU courtesy of NMSU Athletics, nmstatesports.com 

All stats for UTEP courtesy of UTEP Athletics, utepminers.com   

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]