CU Doubles Run Ends At Pac-12 Semifinals
OJAI, Calif. - The University of Colorado women's tennis season came to an end Saturday morning dropping an 8-1 decision at the Pac-12 Conference Invitational Doubles semifinals at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif.
In a battle of unseeded teams, junior Alex Aiello and sophomore Nuria Ormeno Ruiz fell to Washington's Capucine Gregoire and Riko Shimizu, 8-1.
The Buffaloes morning didn't start well, as the Huskies broke serve on the first service game, and kept breaking CU's serve all morning, five times in all. UW raced out to a 5-0 lead, before CU broke back for a 5-1 deficit.
Aiello and Ormeno Ruiz won a pair of 8-6 matches en route to CU's first-ever appearance in any Pac-12 Conference post-season main draw and were matched up with a Washington pair, who upset the top seed duo of Lynn Chi and Karia Popovic from California, 8-6 on Friday.
The UW pair will now play No. 4 seed and No. 36 nationally ranked Gabriella DeSimone and Zoe Katz of USC in Sunday's final.
Playing in only their third 2015 spring match together entering Saturday morning, Aiello/Ormeno Ruiz won a pair of 8-6 decisions over Stanford and Arizona State on Friday to reach the conference semifinals in the Invitational Bracket.
The Pac-12 has two doubles main draws, the Championship and Invitational Brackets.
Entering the conference tournament, the Buffaloes doubles teams were 4-20 this past spring against Pac-12 competition and claimed only one doubles point in 10 outings (Washington State).
Heading back to Boulder, the CU tennis program sent a school-first two doubles teams to the quarterfinal round and one to the semifinal. The farthest any CU team has advanced in the four-year history of the Pac-12 Conference.
"It was our best showing ever (at Pac-12s)," said CU head coach Nicole Kenneally. "Once you experience the success we had, you always want more. We're disappointed, but we'll keep working, keep getting better, and making strides. It was a solid year."
CU's other freshmen tandem of Tina Bokhua and Kyra Wojcik, playing together for the first time this post-season, also reached the conference quarterfinals.
Success for the CU tennis program in doubles isn't a new thing. Last October, Wojcik and senior Julyette Steur won the USTA/ITA Mountain Regional, becoming the first CU doubles team to win a regional title in school history.
The conference tournament, also capped an outstanding performance from Aiello on the singles court. The junior from Tequesta, Fla., "played some of her best tennis all season," Kenneally said.
Aiello became the first women's player to reach the singles quarterfinal round of a main draw Pac-12 postseason tournament. Aiello became the second CU woman to win an opening round main draw singles match (Ashley Tiefel: 2013), capitalized on her success, winning another (three set) match later in the same day, advancing to the quarterfinals.
The pair of conference victories gave the junior, 18 wins for the year, tying two other teammates for most season victories.
Pac-12 Tennis Championships
Ojai Valley Athletic Club, Ojai, Calif.
Invitational Doubles Bracket
Round of 16: Friday, April 24
Alex Aiello/Nuria Ormeno Ruiz (CU) def. Krista Hardebeck/Paulette Wolak (Stanford) 8-6
Aiello/Ormeno Ruiz (CU) def. Alexandra Osborne/Leighann Sahagun (Arizona State) 8-6
Semifinal: Saturday, April 25
Capucine Gregoire/Riko Shimizu (Washington) def. Alex Aiello/Nuria Ormeno Ruiz (CU) 8-1