Facing their first nationally ranked opponent of the season, the Louisiana Tech tennis team could not pull the upset, falling to 50th-ranked Charlotte by a final score of 4-0 in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament Thursday in Denton, Texas.
Despite being the underdog, LA Tech came out unafraid and aggressive in the early going as all three doubles courts were within a game through five games. However, Charlotte (21-6) pulled away on courts one and two to grab the doubles point.
The story was similar in singles with the Lady Techsters battling early. Anastasiia Salenko got up 3-2 on her opponent on court two, Alexia Romero jumped out to a 4-1 lead on court four and Claudia Oravcova was tied up at 5-5 on court five.
The 49ers snatched momentum on almost every court after that, claiming the first set on five of the six singles matches.
The lone set they did not get was on court four. Romero got up 5-2 in the set, but her opponent won four straight games to get ahead. The LA Tech sophomore settled back in, breaking the game streak to force a tiebreaker where she fought off two set points to win it, 10-8.
Not long after the marathon match finished the first set, Charlotte started tacking on points, registering the first singles points at the top three positions.
“I felt like we battled hard today,” said Tech coach Amanda Stone. “Charlotte is definitely a top-notch team and it was a good opportunity for us to see how we measure against a top conference opponent.
SOFTBALL: Louisiana Tech jumps back into conference action this weekend as the Lady Techsters play host to UTEP in a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.
After dropping three of four at UAB this past weekend, LA Tech (15-23, 4-4 C-USA) looks to make a move up the standings as the Lady Techsters sit in the middle of the pack in fourth in the West Division.
Right behind them is the next opponent, UTEP (8-20, 3-9 C-USA), who has lost seven of its last eight games, including getting swept at home by North Texas this past weekend. The Miners were only able to muster six runs in the four games.
Both days’ action is slated to start at 1 p.m.
TRACK AND FIELD: The Louisiana Tech squad will split up on Saturday to take part in two separate events. The throwers will participate in the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational in Natchitoches while the rest of the team will head to Houston to compete at the J. Fred Duckett Twilight.
Only two weekends remain before the Bulldogs and Lady Techsters go up against league competition at the Conference USA Championships.