Contact CU Independent Sports Writer Jake Mauff at Jacob.firstname.lastname@example.org
In their first week of conference play, the Colorado Buffaloes split a home stand against the two Arizona teams. The team now sits at 6-7 overall.
The beginning of conference play could have turned out better for the Buffaloes. On Friday, the team didn’t win a single match against No. 26 Arizona State, losing 7-0. ASU had two ranked doubles teams when play started. However, the No. 23-ranked team of senior Ebony Panoho and junior Alexandra Osborne wasn’t needed as the Sun Devils’ two other teams won first. Going into singles, ASU was up 1-0.
Singles matches didn’t fare much better for Colorado. The team put up a fight and won the occasional set, but couldn’t pull out a single match. There was a lot to be desired moving on.
The Buffaloes did bounce back on Sunday against the No. 59 Arizona Wildcats, pulling off the upset 4-3. But this result was not without its doubt.
Doubles started off in similar fashion. Doubles play saw Arizona come out and win without the need of a third match. Both matches that finished ended with a 6-2 game score, including the Wildcats’ No. 47-ranked doubles team of junior Lauren Marker and senior Shayne Austin.
This didn’t deter the Buffs. In singles play, already down 1-0, the team battled to a 4-2 match record in singles and pulled off the victory. The highlight of the day was junior Nuria Ormeño Ruiz’s win against No. 47 Marker.
Ormeño Ruiz got off to a hot start, winning the first set 6-1. Then, she slowed in the second, losing in the reverse record. Marker and Ormeño Ruiz dueled for nine more games, with Ruiz winning 6-3.
“The wind was blowing a little bit during the second set, it was blowing quite a bit,” Ormeño Ruiz said. “I looked at Alex and was like, ‘I’m not losing today,’ and I knew it was going to happen.”
The junior’s work was aided by her teammates. A quick two set win for senior Alex Aiello opened up singles play.
Sophomore Kyra Wojcik was the next Buff to finish, but to quite different results. She lost her two sets. Including the doubles point, Colorado was down 2-1 at this point. But Ruiz finished next to even the score at 2.
Colorado won their next two matches, with sophomore Jeannez Daniel clinching the team’s victory. She won in two sets, but both were tightly contested. The first set went into a tiebreaker, and the second finished with a score of 6-4.
“I honestly didn’t realize I clinched until the girls ran onto the court after,” Daniel said. “It’s great to help the team get a W and come out on top against a ranked team.”
The last match finished shortly after Daniel’s. It was another tight contest, with the same record in each set in Arizona’s favor.
“I think today was definitely a ‘getting over the bump’ and for them to really see the benefit of really rallying together as a team,” head coach Nicole Kenneally said. “Taking the drama out of it and the emotion out of it and just thinking about, ‘What am I going to do next?’”
Colorado will look to improve on this win when they travel to Washington University on Friday. Games are slated to start at 2:30 p.m. (MST).