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Home stretch for CSU tennis ends with victory against Missouri

Radka+Buzkova+hits+the+ball+back+to+Abilene+in+her+singles+match+Jan+26.
Collegian | Julia Percy
Radka Buzkova hits the ball back to Abilene Christian University in her singles match Jan 26. She won both sets 6-1.

A simple lineup change was all Colorado State tennis needed to take down a ranked opponent.

CSU sealed the victory Saturday, winning 5-2 against Missouri at the Fort Collins Country Club, improving to 3-1 in the dual season.

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To begin the spring, the Rams have traditionally paired Radka Buzkova and Zara Lennon together and Sarah Weekley with Viktoryia Zhadzinskaya for their doubles matches, but Saturday was a different story with a swap that benefitted the home team.

Buzkova and Zhadzinskaya not only won their first match together, but they took down the No. 19 doubles team in the nation, sisters Mae Canete and Inah Canete, sealing the first point of the match for the Rams.

“We’ve been working through the doubles in the last couple weeks,” coach Mai-Ly Tran said. “We had to make a last minute decision but took in a lot of input, and we knew there was going to be an opportunity today. What was nice is the decision is, ‘Make what’s best for the team, and give ourselves a shot at all three positions,’ and I’m just really happy that those matchups went well.”

This was no easy task, but it just shows how versatile this team can be given the two weeks to experiment and best prepare for their matchup, especially with Zhadzinskaya filling into a huge role.

Although Sarka Richterova and Logan Voeks‘ match ended in a 6-3 loss, Weekley and Lennon sifted through their opponents, picking up a 6-2 win, giving the Rams the first doubles win.

“Me and Zara play well together,” Weekley said. “We’re sort of used to each other, and she puts no pressure on me to play well, so I can just play free, and it works.”

Returning with her previous teammate made it easy to pick up where they left off, and it was evident in Saturdays matchup that they had the chemistry built up.

Although Weekley is still in the process of improving her confidence with every match she plays, one thing has stayed consistent: her powerful serve. That’s the reason her 3-1 record does not come as a surprise in her individual matches this season.

“She does have some natural talent to her,” Tran said. “She has a very strong serve that gives her an advantage. She plays pretty loose out there and probably hits the hardest out of everyone and just has a really good awareness and sense of the court.”

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Weekley was the first one off the court in both her doubles and singles match, showing off her ability to close out sets with authority.

“The things we’ve been working on are the mental skills to kind of take advantage of that natural talent, but I mean, today, she had one of the best performances I’ve seen of this year, so it was nice to just see her playing well,” Tran said.

This has been a trend not only for her but the entirety of the team this dual season. Getting a lead and keeping the lead is much easier to do at home as opposed to on the road, as the Rams have played three out of their four matches at the Fort Collins Country Club. 

While these next few road matches against BYU and Utah will definitely be a challenge, CSU tennis will rely on each other and play the tennis that has worked for them all season.

“I think as a team, we are pretty disciplined, and our shot selections are pretty good,” Lennon said. “I just think that it’s going to be in important moments being able to capitalize on the points and everything, but that comes with more matches.”

Reach Luke Hojnowski at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukehojo.

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