Thunderbird tennis took to their home court on Friday Feb. 11 to cross rackets with the Division 2 Montana State University Yellow Jackets. The Mesa women were preparing to open their season, and the men were fresh from a victory over Imperial Valley that morning.
MSU’s new head coach Lew Kosich said, “I haven’t seen them but I respect what I’ve heard of his hosts.”
The men and women of Mesa played skillfully, but they were no match for the visiting Yellow Jackets.
T-Bird head coach, Adam Cohen, said of the match, “You’re never happy with a loss but I saw some encouraging signs and I’m excited to start conference play.”
The Mesa men lost handedly to the visitors dropping all nine matches to the yellow Jackets.
However, with a young team including 2-time state high school doubles champion Kyle Ogren and talented players such as Guilherme Aracaro, who though losing still took his 4-year college opponent into a tie breaker.
The Ladies of Mesa fared better than their male counterparts winning two of the nine matches, one in doubles by Hayley Roby and Iman Alibrahim.
The other in singles competition by who beat her opponent eight games to six.
Unfortunately for the T-Bird women they lost their number one singles player, Iman Alibrahim, during a promising match to a dislocated knee cap, which is the third time she sustained such an injury, the last time being the day before nationals in 2010.
Coach Cohen said that the match was for the Mesa teams to gain experience against high level competition, and though they lost both matches they “fought for everything,” Cohen said. Brianna Prothero said of the effort put forth, “I feel like we are ready to play other teams.”
Though the teams weren’t able to defeat the more experienced Yellow Jackets, based off their high level of play in practice and their strong play against MSU, Cohen has high hopes for his Thunderbirds expecting both the men’s and women’s teams to rank in the top ten nationally.