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2022/23 TENNIS (#62 @ 5/4) season news & results (National Invitational Championship (NIT; Peachtree, GA; Next match vs. Stetson; Fri., 5/19, 8 AM MT)

In a just completed match, looks like a HUGE comeback win for CU over the #16 Huskies. After falling behind 0-3 after the doubles point and 1st 2 singles matches were lost, the Buffs win the last 4 matches, all in 3 sets, with the decider being a win in #1 singles by Antonia Balzert by an 8-6 score in the 3rd set tiebreaker.


Article after the NICE win.

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/9/tennis-tops-no-16-washington-in-thrilling-comeback.aspx

BOULDER--It was a comeback for the ages. In one of the best tennis matches seen on CU's South Campus, the Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team defeated No. 16 Washington 4-3 on Easter Sunday here at the CU Tennis Complex.

Down 3-0, the Buffs needed extra sets in each of the four remaining singles matches to secure the win, which came on a thrilling 8-6 third set tiebreaker from Antonia Balzert.

"I told the team, I'm at a loss for words," CU coach Anthony Pham said. "The team just battled and wouldn't take no for an answer. This match finished just shy of four hours and it wasn't four hours due to rain delays or other things, it was a four-hour battle. This match could've been done in under two hours, we were down 3-0 and I couldn't be more proud of how we fought and battled and eventually pulled out a win."

After losing the doubles points, the Buffs quickly went down 3-0 with losses at No. 2 and No. 6 singles. Aya El Sayed was also down a set at No. 4 singles but pushed it to a third set to keep the Buffs alive.

Meanwhile, Balzert and Betina Tokac both won their first sets and lost their second sets about the same time that Mila Stankovec finished off her thriller at No. 3 to give the Buffs their first point and make it 3-1.

Shortly after, El Sayed completed her comeback and made it 3-2. Tokac pounced on her opponent at No. 5 singles and made a 6-0 statement in the third set to make it 3-3.

Balzert then needed every ounce of her energy to finish her match and pick up her 50th career singles victory. She had a match point at the end of her second set before falling and after opening 3-0 in the third set, it eventually went to a tiebreaker. After opening the tiebreaker 5-0, at 6-1 she lost five straight before winning the final two to take her set, match and the team victory with a 8-6 victory.

"It was so tiring," Balzert said. "She started hitting slices and didn't play my game. I had to stay patient, and I wouldn't say being patient is my strongest suit, but I did pretty good today staying in there and playing hard and believed in myself as much as I could. I could tell we were coming back, especially because the crowd was awesome. My team was cheering so hard and I felt the energy. I saw Betina win and I knew I was going to be the deciding match. I had a match ball in the second, match balls for and against me in the third, it was a tough ride."

The Buffs picked up the program's eighth win over a team ranked No. 16 or better and for just the second time in the past 16 seasons.

Up Next
The Buffs will travel to Arizona next week for the last Pac-12 regular season road trip of the season starting with No. 30 Arizona State on Friday April 14 at 2:30 MST. The following day the Buffs will travel across the state to take on No. 49 Arizona at 1:00 MST.

No. 70 Colorado 4, No. 16 Washington 3
April 9, 2023
Boulder, Colo. (CU Tennis Complex)

1. Hikaru Sato and Zehra Suko (UW) def. Antonia Balzert and Aya El Sayed (CU) 6-3
2. Mila Stanojevic and Elys Ventura (CU) vs. Jennifer Kerr and Astrid Olsen (WASH) 5-5, unfinished
3. Sarah-Maude Fortin and Erika Matsuda (UW) def. Ellen Puzak and Betina Tokac (CU) 6-2
Order of Finish: (3,1)

1. Antonia Balzert (CU) def. No. 97 Hikaru Sato (UW) 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6)
2. Sarah-Maude Fortin (UW) def. Elys Ventura (CU) 6-2, 6-2
3. Mila Stanojevic (CU) def. Astrid Olsen (UW) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
4. Aya El Sayed (CU) def. Jennifer Kerr (UW) 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
5. Betina Tokac (CU) def. Melissa Sakar (UW) 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-0
6. Erika Matsuda (UW) def. Carri Hayes (CU) 6-0, 6-1
Order of Finish: (6,2,3,4,5,1*)

And, from coach Pham -

Last edited:
This was the best tennis match I've ever seen in person. It was an amazing comeback and a super tense final tie breaker.

Mata and Shilo Sanders were watching and kept getting accused of trash-talking by the Washington players and coaches. The umpire made them move. It didn't seem like they were doing anything wrong--if they were, it was subtle because I was close to them and couldn't hear anything--but it was pretty funny because they really got into the Washington player's head. It was cool to see football players out supporting the tennis team.
With only 3 regular season matches left, preview for 2 of those in front of tomorrow's and Saturday's matches down in the desert. (Looks like live streams are scheduled for both matches.)

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/13/tennis-buffs-travel-to-arizona-for-final-road-trip.aspx

BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team travels to Arizona for the final regular season road trip of the season to take on No. 23 Arizona State on Friday at 2:30 p.m. MST, followed by No. 51 Arizona on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. MST.

Coming off of the one of the best matches to take place in Boulder in quite some time defeating No. 16 Washington 4-3, the team made sure to enjoy the moment. Sophomore Mila Stanojevic battled after dropping a tough doubles match to get the Buffs on the board against the Huskies.

"We lost our No. 2 doubles match," Stanojevic said. "We unfortunately couldn't finish our doubles match. We had match points, but we couldn't finish it. Going into singles, we had the mindset of all or nothing. We had six opportunities to get four points. We were doing it for the team, competing and not giving up. The biggest thing on Sunday was that everyone stayed in their match."

With the sweep of the Washington schools over the weekend the Buffs moved up in the ITA rankings to No. 54. This is the highest the Buffs have been ranked since being ranked No. 47 in 2015.

"It was super exciting to see the rankings come out," Stanojevic said. "I looked at the rankings during my class because we were all super excited to see where we are right now. We definitely deserved to move up. We had two good wins this weekend so getting recognized is super exciting."

Head coach Anthony Pham made sure to emphasize to the team that the success didn't happen out of thin air. Throughout the year the team has put in the work to make this possible.

"It's a testament to the team," Pham said. "I told them after the Washington match that these things don't happen in a vacuum. It wasn't a random thing; the team has been building towards this."

After taking the weekend to enjoy the wins when the team came back to practice on Tuesday, they had to turn focus to taking on two more ranked teams on the road in Arizona.

"I told the team after the match against Washington that they earned it and enjoy it, but once we get back to practice on Tuesday, we have to turn focus," Pham said. "We look at every match as an opportunity and both Arizona State and Arizona are very good teams. Our goal is to go out and perform well against both of those schools."

The road trip will start on Friday traveling to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils, who themselves are coming of an impressive weekend sweeping USC and UCLA to improve to 14-5 on the season. The Buffs will look to get their first win against Arizona State since 1982 and the first time in Tempe.

The following afternoon the Buffs will head to Tucson to take on No. 51 Arizona. The Wildcats are coming in currently on a five-match losing streak bringing their record to 14-11. The Buffs have won three of the last four in the series, which now stands at 17-10 in favor of the Wildcats.

"Both Arizona schools are great opportunities for us to see where we are at again," Stanojevic said on playing the Arizona schools. "With it being on the road it's going to be different because we won't have the home crowd. But we have worked hard this week and continue to focus on what we have been building up this year and go out and compete."

The Buffs are looking to reach 12 wins for the first time since 2009.

Direct links:

Vs. ASU:
Live scoring
- http://sidearmstats.com/asu/wten/

Free live stream - https://pac-12.com/live/arizona-state-university-2

Vs. Arizona:
Link to link to live scoring
- https://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statbroadcast.php?gid=ariz

Free live stream - https://pac-12.com/live/university-arizona-4
NOT looking good for a win today, as the Buffs were dominated in doubles, and the majority of the singles matches are also looking problematic in their 1st sets. Still a ways to go yet.

Team about 2-1/2 hours out from getting to start a bounce back match against the Wildcats.

Info on Friday's match, which includes a time change and, possibly, a location change (depending on the weather). It's also senior day for this season's #1 singles player Antonia Balzert.

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/18/buffs-utes-tennis-match-moved-to-12-30-pm-friday.aspx

BOULDER – The No. 61 Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team has changed the start time of its final regular season home match against No. 52 Utah on Friday to 12:30 p.m. MST, moving it up one hour.

The Buffs and Utes will both close out their regular seasons. It's Senior Day for the Buffs and Antonia Balzert will be honored before the match. The match is currently scheduled to take place at the CU Tennis Complex on south campus, but could be moved indoors to the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center due to weather. The decision on location will be made by Thursday evening.
Senior Day, with the opening serve a little over 2 hours away!
(Per the below, sounds like the match will be competed at their main outside facility on South Campus.)


Preview -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/20/tennis-buffs-look-to-finish-the-right-way.aspx

BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team closes out the regular season at home against No. 52 Utah at 12:30 on Friday. The match is currently scheduled to take place at the CU Tennis Complex on south campus, but could be moved indoors to the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center due to weather.

With it being the final home match of the season comes with it the final home match for Antonia Balzert at Colorado. Balzert came to Colorado in the fall of 2019 and her career has gone anything but smoothly. Her first season came to an abrupt end when the season was cut short due to COVID-19. The following fall was nonexistent as well with tournaments again cancelled.

The final two years of her career at Colorado have been quite different. Balzert has played high in the lineup for both singles and doubles the previous two seasons earning Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 in 2021. This season Balzert has gone 17-14 at No. 1 singles this so far this season. Balzert currently stands at 50 career singles win which puts her at 34th all-time at Colorado.

As Senior Day approaches Balzert is looking forward to playing her final home match at Colorado, but admits it will be emotional for her.
"I'm super excited," Balzert said on Senior Day. "It is kind of emotional though. My parents and my best friend are flying in, so I'm excited to see them and then obviously have one more opportunity to beat Utah."

When Balzert looks back at her college career the first thing she will remember was defeating Washington this season.

"When I look back the Washington match is the highlight for my career," Balzert said. "It was such a nerve-racking match and that we beat that team. That was the best college experience I've had."

After a tough weekend against Arizona and Arizona State, the Buffs will look to rebound against Utah starting with Doubles. The Buffs haven't won the doubles point since defeating Northern Arizona back on March 27.

"It's always a point of focus for us," Head Coach Anthony Pham said on the doubles point. "We haven't played up to our expectations in doubles recently and that's something that we are continuing to address with players and the team. I think we haven't done a good job of doing the little things and we have to do a better job of that specifically going into Utah and the Pac-12 tournament."

Along with improving at doubles Pham is looking for each player to continue to improve like they have throughout the season, but wants the entire team to focus on having more of a sense of urgency as the season winds down.

"I think there's always specific areas for each player that we're addressing with them, but just overall coming out with more energy in doubles and playing with a sense of urgency. We want to make the most out of this opportunity."

The Buffs are looking to get to 12 wins for the first time since 2009.
SOOOO close.

The team fell behind 0-3, but then win 3 of the next 4, with the decider for the Utes' victory being a tie breaker win in singles #3 set #3.

Oh well- now off to Ojai, CA for the Pac 12 Championships.

Preview in front of tomorrow's Pac 12 Championships' 1st round opener vs. Oregon -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/25/tennis-buffs-look-to-make-the-most-of-the-opportunity.aspx

BOULDER – The Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team has wrapped up the regular season and will now turn focus to the Pac-12 Tournament this week. The 10th-seed buffs will start action on Wednesday with a rematch against the seventh-seeded and No. 58 Oregon Ducks at 1:00 p.m. MST.

The Buffs are going into the Pac-12 Tournament off of three losses including a tough 4-3 loss at home against Utah in the last match. But as it has been throughout the entire season, this team has continued to bounce back.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Head Coach Anthony Pham said about the Pac-12 Tournament. "I think our team is prepared. Obviously, we had a tough result on Friday against Utah, but I really believe in this group. They're resilient, they always bounce back. I think we have the right approach; we are going to go there and make the most out of the opportunity and play hard and see what happens."

This will be the second match-up against Oregon this season. The Buffs traveled to Eugene on March 17 and fell 4-0, but the score was not an indicator of how close the match was. When the match was clinched the Buffs were leading in two out of the three remaining matches with the third about to go into the third set. So, looking back at the meeting this year, the Buffs look back and know it was closer than the score would seem.

"The trip to Eugene is always tough," Pham said on Oregon. "Even with the result the way it was we had a couple of matches where we felt were going in our favor. We know we are up against a good team, so we know what to expect and we're going to come out and be as prepared as we can be."

With the regular season completed and the team moving into post-season play, Pham said the team will not let that change their approach no matter the match.

"I think our approach is always the same whether it's the first match or last match," Pham said. "I think there's going to be more excitement because it is the conference tournament, but our approach is no different."

Throughout the past month the Buffs have struggled in doubles, losing the doubles point in the last seven matches going back to Northern Arizona on March 27. Winning the doubles point will be crucial to the success in the tournament.

"We have to play better doubles," Pham said. "We know that it's a point of emphasis, and we just have to play with more urgency from the get go. We need to be more prepared right from the beginning."

This is also the second year in a row the Buffs will take on Oregon in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. Last year the Buffs lost a tight match 4-3. While some of the team from last year's first round will be back this is a new team for Colorado. Only three players who competed against Oregon last year will be competing on Wednesday: Antonia Balzert, Mila Stanojevic, and Betina Tokac.

Colorado will look to win it's first match at the Pac-12 tournament in school history.

"We have to go into it with the right mindset," Pham said. "It is an opportunity us; I think we are playing good tennis. It is all about making sure we bring it all together on the same day against Oregon on Wednesday."

Live stream - https://pac-12.com/live/championships/womens-tennis-1
The Buffs get the doubles point for the 1st time in MANY matches. Hope they keep it up in singles!

The Buffs (based on what the preview article a couple posts up said prior to the match) get their 1st ever victory at the Pac 12 Tournament.

Congrats to the team!

Article after today's win -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/4/26/...c-12-tournament-match-in-program-history.aspx

OJAI, Calif. – April 26 is a day that will go down in the record books. The Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team got the programs first Pac-12 tournament victory here Wednesday at the Weil Tennis Academy defeating seventh seeded Oregon 4-2.

One of the Head Coach Anthony Pham's biggest points of emphasis going into the Pac-12 tournament was improving in doubles, and that is exactly what the Buffs did today. The Buffs came out strong and took the doubles point for the first time since March 5 against Northern Arizona.

"We made some huge adjustments in doubles today," Pham said. "Being able to get that doubles point was huge for us."

Just as the team had an emphasis for starting fast in doubles, the Buffs wanted to make sure to keep that going in singles and nobody took that to heart more than freshman Carri Hayes, who responded with a dominating 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 6 singles.

"Carri did a nice job of taking care of business," Pham said. "We have a lot of confidence in her and it's great to see her making strides and playing within herself."

After winning the first Pac-12 Tournament match in program history head coach Anthony Pham knows this team has done the work and now is enjoying the fruits of their labor.

"We've got an extremely resilient group who genuinely love one another," Pham said. "It's really gratifying to see them enjoy the fruits of their labor. This group does the work and as a result, continues to move the program forward in a very positive and meaningful manner. They always compete hard and represent the Buffs the right way."

As much as the team will enjoy the victory, they are back at it Thursday against second-seeded California.

"I am very proud of the effort the team put forth today. It was a complete team effort from all eight Buffs today. We will enjoy this for a very short time and then we have to turn our attention to a very good California team tomorrow."

Up Next
The Buffs move on to the quarterfinals to take on second-seeded California in a rematch from March 5. In the previous matchup in Boulder the Buffs fell 4-3 to the Golden Bears. The match will begin at 4:00 p.m. MST at the Weil Tennis Academy in Ojai, Calif. where Colorado will look to avenge another loss from the regular season.

  • With the victory this gives Colorado its first Pac-12 conference win in program history.
  • This is the first time reaching 12 wins since the 2008-09 season.
  • Aya El Sayed won her 12th straight singles match moving her up to the sixth longest winning streak in Colorado history.
  • El Sayed remains unbeaten in the Pac-12 play with a 6-0 record at No. 4 singles.
Big congrats to the team for earning its 1st post-season berth in many many years!

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/5/4/t...eason-in-16-years-with-inaugural-nit-bid.aspx

PALO ALTO, Calif. – The University of Colorado is one of eight college tennis teams that has accepted a bid to the inaugural Universal Tennis National Invitational Championship (NIT), which will take place in the Peachtree City, Georgia May 17-20.

All matches for both men and women will be streamed by Amazon Prime and available to regular Prime subscribers at no additional cost. Information on Colorado's draw in the tournament will be announced next week.

This is the Buffs first postseason appearance in 16 years and ninth appearance beyond a conference tournament in program history, with two AIAW appearances in 1980 and '81, and six NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996, '97, '98, '99, 2003 and '07.

Colorado enters the NIT with a 12-12 overall record and No. 63 national ranking. CU's 12 wins are the most for the program in 15 seasons and CU was ranked in five ITA polls this season, the most in nine seasons and achieved a best rank of No. 52, the highest since March 10, 2015.

The Buffs win over Oregon in Ojai, Calif., was the program's first Pac-12 Tournament victory since entering the Pac-12 in 2011 and it was the first conference tournament win in 13 seasons.

The Buffs are led by senior Antonia Balzert, who has played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles with Aya El Sayed all season. Balzert is 17-15 overall this season and 10-10 at No. 1 singles, including picking up three wins in Pac-12 play at the top spot.

El Sayed played primarily at the No. 4 singles spot and finished with a 14-1 dual match record, the top percentage in CU history and was 5-0 in Pac-12 play, just the third undefeated conference season in program history and first since 1999.

Missouri transfer Elys Ventura has been playing No. 2 singles most of the season with sophomore's Mila Stanojevic (No. 3) and Betina Tokac (No. 5) being regulars in the lineup alongside freshman Carri Hayes at No. 6. Senior Ellie Puzak has teamed with Tokac at No. 3 doubles while Stanojevic and Ventura have primarily played No. 2 doubles all season.

Universal Tennis announced the tournament in March as proof of furthering support of college tennis by the organization, which generates millions in revenue for college programs each year and has streamed over 20,000 matches featuring more than 1,300 college players globally.

The announcement of the NIT Championship follows the launch of the Universal Tennis Collegiate Alliance ("UTCA"), which was created to support the future of all college programs in the United States. The UTCA Executive Committee voted unanimously to support the launch of the NIT Championship.

Various links I've found so far related to this new NIT:

The organizer's original release about the NIT - https://www.universaltennis.com/pr/...ampionships-for-college-tennis-on-prime-video

Twitter - https://twitter.com/universaltennis?lang=ar-x-fm
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/universaltennis/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/UniversalTennis/


Also, BIG congrats to the 3 Buffs who earned Pac 12 honors!

Preview in front of the NIT, which begins tomorrow for CU at 1:00 PM MT with a match vs. Cal Poly. (Direct link to Amazon Prime Video link for those interested and with a subscription at the bottom of this post.) -

Direct link - https://cubuffs.com/news/2023/5/16/tennis-buffs-ready-for-first-postseason-since-2007.aspx

ATLANTA—After two practice days and a media session, the Colorado Buffaloes Tennis team is ready for the Inaugural Universal Tennis NIT Championship, which will take place Wednesday to Saturday here at the Peachtree City Tennis Center.

The Buffaloes (12-12) will participate in the team's first competition beyond conference championships in 16 years, since the 2006-07 advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

CU is the No. 2 seed and will face Cal Poly in the first round Wednesday at 1 p.m. MT. All main draw matches will air on Amazon Prime.

This is believe to be the first meeting between the Buffs and Cal Poly, although CU did face Cal Poly Pomona in the 1978-79 season.

Overall, there are eight teams in this inaugural event. Also on the Buffs side of the bracket are third-seeded Stetson and CSUN (Cal State Northridge). CU has never faced Stetson and has faced CSUN 10 times but not since 1992, owning a 9-1 advantage.

The other half of the bracket features top-seeded TCU against UC San Diego and fourth-seeded Appalachian State against Wyoming. CU has played Wyoming nine times and owns an 8-1 record, including a 4-2 win this season, and the Buffs are 0-3 against TCU all-time. CU has never played UC San Diego or Appalachian State.

Three teams in the field are ranked in the latest ITA rankings with TCU leading the way at No. 47 followed by the Buffs at No. 62 and Wyoming at No. 70.

This is the Buffs seventh postseason appearance in program history, although there are three seasons in the early 1980s in which the Buffs potentially played in the AIAW Tournament. Regardless, it has been 16 seasons since the Buffs played in a postseason event the Buffs will advance further into May than any team in CU history, with the Cal Poly match-up on May 17 matching the 1999 NCAA Tournament where the Buffs fell to South Alabama on May 17 in that tournament. All teams are guaranteed at least two matches here in the NIT.

Cal Poly enters the NIT with a 14-9 record and finished second in the Big West both in the regular season and tournament.

Link to live video for those with Amazon Prime Video subscription - https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/sto....dv.icid.a7897353-fd02-4669-b996-4866f0c19710