Falcons Fall to Wyoming 4-0 at MW Championships

    Senior Tahlia Smoke played her final matches for Air Force Thursday

    Senior Tahlia Smoke played her final matches for Air Force Thursday

    April 26, 2012

    The Air Force women's tennis team closed out its 2011-12 season Thursday with a 4-0 loss to 62nd-ranked Wyoming in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Championships in San Diego, Calif. The fifth-seeded Falcons finished the campaign with a 17-8 record, the most wins in one season since posting 20 during the 1998-99 season. Wyoming, the tournament's No. 4 seed, improved to 14-8 overall and will face top-seed TCU in the semis on Saturday.

    Wyoming jumped out to a 1-0 lead with wins at the Nos. 1 and 3 doubles spots. The Cowgirls' No. 3 team of Silviya Zhelyazkova and Jessica Parizher ran away with the first match of the day by downing junior Christine Molina and freshman Tiffany Tran 8-1. Wyoming clinched the point when the nation's 51st-ranked team of Simona Synkova and Veronica Popovici defeated senior Tahlia Smoke and junior Melissa Cecil, 8-6, at the top spot. The No. 2 match was halted with the match tied at 5-all.

    The Cowgirls continued the momentum to the singles matches, winning the first three off the court to end the team match. Popovici earned Wyoming's second point of the day with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Cecil at the top spot, followed by Kovacs, who downed Smoke, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 3. Synkova clinched the match for Wyoming by defeating Molina 6-1, 6-4, at the No. 2 position. At that point, the other three matches were pulled off the court, including the No. 6 match where Air Force freshman Natasha Rizvi held a 6-3, 2-5 lead over Silviya Zhelyazkova.

    "Today was the bittersweet end to an amazing season for the team," said Air Force head coach Kim Gidley. "After two rain delays the team came out a little sluggish in the doubles, but I was impressed how we came out in the singles and battled back - unfortunately we just got beat at the top of our line up against a very good Wyoming team."

     

     

    Air Force, which also posted the most conference wins (3) in one season since moving to Division I in 1996, had four players reach 20 overall wins in singles this season, led by Molina with 24. Tran and Rizvi each posted a 5-2 record against Mountain West opponents this year.

    Smoke, the team's lone senior, and Cecil posted a 23-13 overall doubles record and were 13-9 at the No. 1 spot this season. Rizvi and junior Hannah Dake were 14-4 overall in doubles and went 6-1 against conference opponents at the No. 2 position, while Molina and Tran were 22-9 overall and 15-6 at the No. 3 doubles spot.

    Wyoming 4, Air Force 0
    April 26, 2012
    San Diego, Calif.
    Quarterfinals -- 2012 Mountain West Championships

    Doubles
    1. #51 Synkova / Popovici (WYO) def. Cecil / Smoke, 8-6
    2. Dake / Rizvi (AF) vs. Nemcova / Kovacs, 5-5 DNF
    3. Parizher / Zhelyazkova (WYO) def. Tran / Molina, 8-1
    Order of Finish: 3, 1

    Singles
    1. Veronica Popovici (WYO) def. Melissa Cecil, 6-1, 6-0
    2. Simona Synkova (WYO) def. Christine Molina, 6-1, 6-4
    3. Alexandra Kovacs (WYO) def. Tahlia Smoke, 6-3, 6-4
    4. Sasa Nemcova (WYO) led Tiffany Tran, 6-2, 3-3, DNF
    5. Jessica Parizher (WYO) led Hannah Dake, 7-5, 2-3, DNF
    6. Natasha Rizvi (AF) led Silviya Zhelyazkova, 6-3, 2-5, DNF
    Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2

    Inside Women's Tennis