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CSU tennis picks up two wins, falls to UNLV in first Mountain West match of 2018

Colorado State tennis traveled to Las Vegas, Nev. last weekend where they picked up two wins against UC Riverside and Youngstown State. In their final day of play, the Rams lost to the UNLV Rebels in the first game of Mountain West play.

The Rams began the weekend facing off against UC Riverside. Priscilla Palermo started the tournament strong, picking up a win against Karla Dulay 6-0, 6-1. Emily Leutschwager followed behind Palermo as she defeated her UC Riverside opponent, Sara Khattab, 6-2, 6-4.

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Freshman, Priscilla Palermo serves to a WYO opponent during her singes match at the Jon Messick Invitational on Oct 8. (Joshua Contreras | Collegian)

Alyssa Grijalva improved her singles record with a win over Chloe Pham 6-4, 6-4. The first day concluded with a sweep in doubles wins for duos Palermo/Grijalva, Emily Kolbow/ Leutschwager and Riley Reeves/Emily Corwin.

“We were very proud of our competing and the energy we brought to the matches.” Grijalva said. “We brought that same energy into the second half of the day.”

With a quick turnaround, the Rams faced the Youngstown State Penguins that afternoon.

The Penguins picked up the opening point in doubles play, with Imaan Hassim and Sofia Macias besting Kolbow and Luetschwager 7-6 (7-2) The Rams’ duo of Riley Reeves and Emma Corwin also dropped their doubles match, 6-3.

With singles play to end the day, Leutschwager began with intensity to even the match against Sofia Macias, 6-1, 6-3. Improving her overall singles record to 12-3, Grijalva claimed an additional singles victory over Anastasiia Khokhlove, 6-3, 6-3.

Corwin and Reeves clinched winning team points with victories over Cassandra Moraleja, 7-6, 6-2, and Ana Stroe, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, respectively.

Head coach Jarod Camerota said he was pleased with his players’ performances going into the final day of the tournament.

“We did a good job of getting two wins today, and we did it in different ways, with and without the doubles point,” Camerota said.

With a back-to-back tournament the day prior, the Rams fell to UNLV Sunday in their first Mountain West Conference opponent.

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With three losses and three unfinished matches in singles play, the Rams continued to stay hopeful going into the doubles round.

“We all kept each other up and tried to recognize what we needed to work on as a team,” Grijalva said.

With fatigue and frustration setting in, the UNLV Rebels claimed victories in doubles to best the Rams, 4-0.

Despite the loss against the Rebels, Camerota remained positive.

“Whenever you win more than you lose over a weekend, it’s a good thing,” Camerota said in a statement. “UNLV showed us what we need to work on to get ready for our divisional opponents in conference and for the conference tournament.”

With no competition set for this weekend, the Rams will utilize the extra training time to  prepare for play against Duke and Western Illinois in Des Moines, Iowa on Feb. 23-24.

“I think the team can improve for Iowa by simply hitting more balls and getting more reps in,” Kolbow said. “A lot of us will be playing extra this week and that will be the key to our success. We also have a lot of workouts before Iowa that will make us stronger and better.”

Collegian sports reporter Michelle Gould can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @michellegouldd.

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