Metro men’s tennis defeated Montana State University-Billings 5-1 and earned third place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament April 21 at Gates Tennis Center. The women fell 5-2 to Colorado Mesa in their third place game and ended the tournament in fourth.
The Roadrunner teams started off the tournament strong, both winning over Colorado State University-Pueblo.
On the men’s side, the Roadrunners came out on fire. The doubles matches were first, and Metro swept CSUP 3-0 before getting the 5-0 shutout. The women mimicked their male teammates and got the 5-0 sweep over CSUP.
“This is my senior year, so this is it for me,” said senior Lucio Cangiano after the sweep. “I was motivated. This is my last tournament.”
In the second round, both teams again ended with the same result, but this time the ’Runners were on the losing end of 5-1 matches. The Lady ‘Runners lost to University of Nebraska-Kearney while the men’s team lost to Western New Mexico.
The women started off leading in doubles but couldn’t hold on for the win. Metro’s No. 1 doubles team junior Alicia Holm and senior Nadia Khamis lost a 7-6 lead to Vanessa Gunawan and Heather Connolly who came back to win 9-7. Holm met top-ranked Gunawan again in No. 1 singles and lost 6-0, 6-2.
“It was hard for me to get my motivation up after doubles because I’ve played her before and she’s tough, but you have to forget the loss and refocus,” Holm said.
The men’s squad lost two out of their three doubles matches to Western, and the rest in singles, to conclude the 5-1 loss.
“[Western’s] a great team,” said head tennis coach Beck Meares. “We knew it was going to be tough, but we just had to go out there do what we could do, and control what we could control.”
After those matches, both teams fell into the losers bracket where third place would be the best they could finish. The men took advantage and won the match 5-1, and the women settled for fourth place in the 5-2 loss.
“This was a tough tournament and this [Mesa] loss puts us in a tough spot because now we don’t control our own destiny,” junior Marianne Evangelista said. The men’s team, however, had a polar opposite reaction after their third place match.
“It was a big result for us to beat Montana State,” junior Jonathan Evangelista said. “It looks good for us right now because it puts us in a good spot for regionals.”
Both of those statements proved to be prophetic, as the teams found out April 24 that the men’s team would be advancing to NCAA Tournament’s Central Region to pursue a national title while the women would not.
The men earned the No. 3 seed in the central region and will play UNK in the first round, April 30 in Kearney, Neb.