ORLANDO, Fla. — The Washington State tennis doubles team of Tiffany Mylonas and Hikaru Sato came from behind to notch a three-set victory over a duo from Winthrop on Tuesday to become the first Cougar doubles team to win a match at the NCAA Doubles Championship, held at the USTA National Campus.
Around the same time, Wazzu singles sophomore Michaela Bayerlova was bested in the second round of the singles tournament to end her season.
But the No. 22 nationally ranked pairing of Mylonas and Sato made up for it after once trailing 6-1, 4-1.
They strung together four game wins to force a tiebreaker, in which they handled business.
“I’m so impressed with the heart and never-say-die mentality Hikaru and Tiffany play with,” WSU coach Lisa Hart said. “(They) played their best tennis when it counted most in the 10-point tiebreaker.”
The Cougar duo (27-6) has now won seven in a row, all against top-50 teams. They’ll be challenged today by a pairing from South Carolina.
Bayerlova, ranked 42nd nationally, fell 6-0, 6-2 to No. 25 Katarina Stresnakova of Oklahoma State. Bayerlova ended her season at 23-8 in singles.
“I’m very proud of Michaela for another outstanding season,” Hart said. “She ran into a tough opponent today and tried to battle, but could not come out on top.”
Two other Coug duos have reached the NCAAs, in 2001 and 2002, but both fell in their first matches.
Lewiston High graduate Washburn nabs USF team award
SAN FRANCISCO — Julian Washburn, a Lewiston High graduate and pitcher for the University of San Francisco, was awarded the program’s Johnnie Knoble Top Newcomer Award when the Dons handed out their team honors Monday.
Washburn, a right-handed sophomore pitcher and Walla Walla Community College transfer, started the year 8-0 and finished 8-2. He shared the team lead in wins on the year, seven of which came in relief.
“Washburn was a constant stabilizer for the Dons in relief,” reads the award statement.
Washburn is tied for 33rd in the NCAA in wins. He blanked opponents in six of eight appearances of at least three frames.
L-C adds Pomeroy’s Halbert
Pomeroy’s Nikki Halbert, one of the top runners in Washington Class 1B, was signed to compete with Lewis-Clark State next season, Warriors assistant coach Cyrus Hall announced Tuesday.
Halbert placed at State in the 400 relay and 100-meter dash last year, as a junior, and by all appearances looks to experience similar forthcoming success.
She holds personal bests of 13.25 in the 100 and 28.07 in the 200, while also spearheading the Pirates’ highly-regarded 400- and 800-relay teams.
“Athletically, she has a ton of room for development moving forward,” Hall said. “She has a lot of tools in her tool belt. She just needs to learn how to use them. It will be exciting to watch her progress as a student-athlete the next four years.”
Halbert plans to major in occupational therapy. She’s already been introduced to the team, who Hall said “loved her.”