DENTON, Texas - The early momentum ULM built up by winning the doubles point fizzled as Denver rallied to take four singles matches Friday afternoon and win 4-2 to eliminate the Warhawks from the Sun Belt Conference Women's Tennis Championships.
It is the second year in a row the Warhawks fell at the hands of the No. 4 seed Pioneers (12-10) in the quarterfinals, and nearly in identical fashion, as they also took the doubles point to open the match at the 2011 tournament.
Originally seeded at No. 6, ULM was meant to face UALR in the first round and would have met Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals, both opponents they defeated this season. The seedings, which are determined by ITA rankings, were revised however when it was determined the wrong results were used. It moved ULM up to the No. 5 seed, which put them on the opposite side of the bracket.
ULM (15-4) grabbed an early 2-0 lead when Sophie Rufyikiri cruised to the team's only victory in singles on court one 6-2, 6-2 against Sophia Bergner, who was an all-Sun Belt Team selection. Medy Blankvoort fought back from a loss in the first set to force a third at No. 3 singles, which went unfinished with her trailing 1-4.
Monica Winkel was the only Warhawk to play a full third set, and fell to Steffi Rath in the No. 5 spot after she came back 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The remaining Warhawks all lost in straight sets as Elena Najera took out Silvia Tumova 6-2, 6-4 on court two. Ema Turudijia and Vivian Polak both fell with 6-3, 6-4 results in reverse order.
ULM nearly swept doubles action with Winkel and Blankvoort claiming an 8-3 victory and Polak and Turudija earning an almost identical 8-4 win at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. Bergner and Rath came back to pull out a narrow 9-8 victory over Rufyikiri and Tumova.
Denver 4, ULM 2
1. Sophie Rufyikiri (ULM) def. Sophia Bergner (DEN-W) 6-2, 6-2
2. Elena Najera (DEN-W) def. Silvia Tumova (ULM) 6-2, 6-4
3. Caroline Schnell (DEN-W) vs. Medy Blankvoort (ULM) 6-2, 2-6, 1-4, unfinished
4. Emma Isberg (DEN-W) def. Ema Turudija (ULM) 6-3, 6-4
5. Steffi Rath (DEN-W) def. Monica Winkel (ULM) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
6. Natalie Dunn (DEN-W) def. Vivian Polak (ULM) 6-4, 6-3
1. Sophia Bergner/Steffi Rath (DEN-W) def. Sophie Rufyikiri/Silvia Tumova (ULM) 9-8
2. Monica Winkel/Medy Blankvoort (ULM) def. Elena Najera/Emma Isberg (DEN-W) 8-3
3. Vivian Polak/Ema Turudija (ULM) def. Caroline Schnell/Natalie Dunn (DEN-W) 8-4