IRVING, Texas � The UTEP women�s tennis team will begin play at the 2017 Conference USA Championship on Thursday, April 20, as the 14th seed, the league announced Monday. The Miners (4-13, 0-1 C-USA) will face No. 3 seed Marshall (13-9, 1-1 C-USA) at 12 p.m. (CT) at Waranch Tennis Complex in Denton, Texas.
If the Miners win, they will face the winner between No. 6 WKU and No. 11 Florida Atlantic on Friday, April 21 in the quarterfinals. Defending tournament champion Rice and FIU earned a first round bye with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. In the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings, Rice is ranked No. 35 and FIU No. 37 among Division I schools.
All six Miners will make the trip to Denton. Milou Pietersz, Lois Wagenvoort, Raven Bennett, Daphne Visscher, Duda Santos and Maria Paula Medina fielded a full line up last Friday, when the Miners fell 4-3 to NM State. It was the first time since March 4 that the injury-plagued team had a full lineup, helping the squad to the doubles point and two singles wins against the Aggies.
The Miners are led by Pietersz and Wagenvoort, who link up for the No. 1 spot in doubles. The duo recorded their first shutout of the spring season when they blankedNM State�s Vanessa Valdez and Rebecca Keijzerwaard 6-0. In singles play, Pietersz had a comeback victory against Valdez in three sets (0-6, 6-1, 7-5) at the No. 2 spot, while Wagenvoort added to the Miners� score with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory on court four. Bennett sports a team-best 5-5 singles record in dual match play primarily at the No. 6 position.
The Thundering Herd slipped by Old Dominion 4-3 on March 19, but fell to Rice, 4-1, on April 9 in Houston. The Herd has defeated four Power Five conference teams in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia Tech and Penn State.
Five Marshall players have recorded at least 10 singles wins, led by senior Derya Turhan, who sports a 17-3 record at the No. 1 position. Stephanie Smith, who is 13-5 in singles at the No. 3 spot, pairs up with Daniela Dankanych at no. 3 doubles, earning Marshall�s top doubles record at 11-4.
The first round of the tournament will begin with No. 8 Southern Miss taking on No. 9 UTSA and No. 7 Charlotte facing No. 10 Louisiana Tech, with both matches at 9 a.m. (CT). The winner between Southern Miss and UTSA will face top-seeded Rice in the quarterfinals.
Other first round matchups include tournament host No. 5 North Texas battling No. 12 Middle Tennessee at 12 p.m. (CT) and No. 4 Old Dominion facing No. 13 UAB at 3 p.m. (CT).
The Conference USA Championship match will take place on Sunday at 10 a.m. CT.
2017 Conference USA Women�s Tennis Championship
First Round � Thursday, April 20
Match 1: (8) Southern Miss vs. (9) UTSA � 9 a.m.
Match 2: (7) Charlotte vs. (10) Louisiana Tech � 9 a.m.
Match 3: (5) North Texas vs. (12) Middle Tennessee � 12 p.m.
Match 4: (3) Marshall vs. (14) UTEP � 12 p.m.
Match 5: (4) Old Dominion vs. (13) UAB � 3 p.m.
Match 6: (6) WKU vs. (11) Florida Atlantic � 3 p.m.
Quarterfinals � Friday, April 21
Match 7: Match 1 winner vs. (1) Rice � 10 a.m.
Match 8: Match 2 winner vs. (2) FIU � 10 a.m.
Match 9: Match 3 winner vs. Match 5 winner � 2 p.m.
Match 10: Match 4 winner vs. Match 6 winner � 2 p.m.
Semifinals � Saturday, April 22
Match 11: Match 7 winner vs. Match 9 winner � 12 p.m.
Match 12: Match 8 winner vs. Match 10 winner � 12 p.m.
Championship � Sunday, April 23
Match 13: Match 11 winner vs. Match 12 winner � 10 a.m.
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