The No. 32 ranked WSU tennis team finished out their spectacular regular season with two more conference wins against No. 65 Oregon and No. 50 Washington this weekend in Pullman.
The Cougars 5-2 victory against the Ducks on Friday and their 6-1 win against the rival Huskies on Sunday rounded out a regular season record of 18-5, as well as a 6-3 mark in conference play.
With two more victories this weekend, WSU extended their winning streak to six and not only solidified their invitation to the NCAA Tournament, but improved their seeding as well.
It is the first time the Cougars have qualified for the tournament since their current assistant coach Ekaterina Burduli lead them there in 2008. It will be the first appearance for all of the players on the current roster.
“We’re ready to get some rest and get a few days off of practice this week and then we’ll get back to the courts and start getting ready for the tournament,” junior Ksenia Googe said.
“We’re really excited because this year we’re not only going to make the tournament but we really have a chance to do something once we get their,” Head Coach Lisa Hart said. “In the past that hasn’t always been the case, but with this team it’s different. It’s like, lets keep it going, let’s make the Sweet 16.”
Senior Elisabeth Fournier’s last match in Pullman against the Huskies on Senior Day was a memorable performance that embodied her memorable career as a Cougar. After losing her first two games, she went on to win twelve straight for the 6-2, 6-0 victory.
“I was really excited for the match with it being Senior Day and playing Washington, who we lost to last year,” Fournier said. “I think I was a little overkill in the first two games, I liked how I was playing but just missed a few shots. After I got down two-zero, I calmed down a bit but still stayed aggressive and that got me through. We had a team dinner the night before the match and I was trying not to cry the whole time, but after I won today I couldn’t hold it back any longer, it was just a great day and I’m so proud of my team.”
WSU also helped themselves by winning the opening point as they won all three of their doubles matches, an area the team has been working to improve on all season.
“I told the girls after the match that there’s nothing like saving our best doubles for last,” Hart said. “So that was fun because we’ve been working on getting better in that area all year.”
The Cougars clinched the win with Googe’s 6-4, 6-3 victory against Julija Lukac.
“I was shaking I was so excited in the last game,” Googe said. “I had to tell myself to stay calm and that’s what I did. I was just so excited for Liz (Fournier) and the season we’ve put together as a team in general.”
“She (Googe) has just dramatically changed her game,” Hart said. “To get the match-clinching point against Oregon and Washington this weekend… I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player improve as much as she has to be honest.”
Next up for WSU will be the Pac-12 Championships that will be held in Southern California from April 26-29. It is an individual tournament that will not affect their team seeding in the NCAA tournament.
“It’s always a good opportunity to play more tennis,” Fournier said. “It’s a nice break from the intensity of the team matches.”