The Weber State University women’s tennis team started its season last Friday at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Fertitta Tennis Center. The Wildcats played high-ranked teams such as the University of the Pacific and New Mexico State University, two teams that WSU fell to last season.

Hoping for a different turnout this time around, at the end of the day the Wildcats ended up with a pair of close losses, although WSU performed better against the U of P this year by scoring higher than previous meetings.

“Although we came out with some losses, it was a good experience for the girls to get back out there and play tough teams and prepare ourselves for what is to come,”  said Coach Jonas Ehrlin, who has been a coach at WSU since 2006.

A highlight of the tournament was the No. 6 singles match played by Nittaya Phonharath. She was matched up against NMSU player Mandy Mallen. The match was close with an ending score of  6-4, 4-6, 1-0 and 10-6.

“I, at first, went into the match thinking that I wouldn’t be able to win,” Phonharath said. “As the match went on, I realized I could actually beat her.”

Phonharath said she played the smartest tennis she had played in a long time, and after that match’s boost of confidence she is excited for this season and future matches.

The No. 2 doubles team, Michelle Warwick and Phonharath, both sophomores this year, also picked up a win on Friday against the U of P. The two Wildcats were matched up against Julia Hansen and Gergana Boncheva. Phonharath and Warwick earned an 8-7(3) tiebreak win for the ‘Cats.

“This weekend we all played well, and had a great showing,” said Brittiny Moore, this year’s team captain. “This tournament was a positive way for us to start the season.”

Ehrlin said he is hopeful and excited for what is to come.

“We had some very close matches, which is impressive playing the hard teams we were matched up against,”  he said. “I am excited to see what the girls can do against Utah State next Tuesday.”

The Wildcats will continue to prepare and sharpen their skills for the match at Utah State University on Tuesday. The team’s first home game will be Feb. 12 at 10 a.m.

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