NORMAN, Okla. — It wasn’t exactly how the WVU women’s tennis team wanted to kick off its Big 12 slate this season. After traveling to Oklahoma to take on the 50th-ranked Sooners, the Mountaineers were hoping to pull off the upset in the opener.
However, what WVU did instead was come enticingly close, but still fall short of its goal with a 4-2 defeat March 16 at the at the Headington Family Tennis Center.
“I feel like we stepped up pretty well,” WVU freshman Anne-Sophie Courteau said. “Everyone in the beginning of our matches I felt like everybody fought well throughout their matches. But I think what we need to focus on moving forward is keeping our energy at the same level throughout the matches. I feel like we started strong and then we slowed down a little bit and let ourselves kind of get a bit intimidated.”
The loss dropped the Mountaineers to 4-6 overall and 0-1 in the Big 12. It was also their second consecutive loss.
“But we are starting to get to the point where we are putting ourselves in a position to be successful over and over and over again,” WVU coach Miha Lisac said. “The more times that we do that, the more comfortable we will be in closing out those opportunities. Unfortunately, today, we let a few of those slip through our fingers. But with the amount of opportunities that we had, we absolutely had the opportunities to turn this match into our favor.”
When the evening began, it looked like WVU might have a shot of pulling off the stunner on the road.
During the doubles portion of the match, Lisac saw his squads take leads on the Sooners early in the contest. The doubles team of Paula Goetz and Lyn Yuen Choo earned the only win in doubles with a 6-2 victory over Simran Kaur Sethi and Camila Romero.
The teams of Courteau and Giovanna Caputo and Christina Jordan and Sofía Duran were unable to do the same as they both fell, 6-3, to their Oklahoma counterparts.
In the singles matches, it was Goetz and Caputo who earned the Mountaineers only wins. Goetz beat Camila Romero, 6-4, 6-2, in the No. 5 singles while Caputo defeated Skyler Miller 6-3, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles match.
But it was the ones where WVU came close to picking up some big wins but came apart late. That includes Courteau, who dropped a 7-6 first set to Jasmine Asghar. But she came back in the second and was wiped off the court 6-1.
“I started out well,” Courteau said. “But after losing a really close first set I felt like I also backed down a little bit. I gave my opponent room to play better. Then I couldn’t come back from that.”
The Mountaineers continue their trip through Oklahoma when they travel to Stillwater on Sunday to face No. 19 Oklahoma State. For Courteau, it’s a good chance to see if her squad can rebound from the tough loss and battle OSU on the road.
“I want to see us definitely be consistent with our intensity, our energy and our game plan,” Courteau said. “Everybody is going to have to be at their best.”