Bulldogs brace for WAC Championships

The men’s and women’s tennis teams will try to win their final Western Athletic Conference Championship titles Thursday in Las Cruces, N.M. before moving to the Mountain West Conference next season.

The No. 34 men’s team and No. 48 women’s team went undefeated against conference opponents during the regular season, earning them the top seeds of the championships.

Last year, the men’s team won its first WAC Tournament Championship since 1999 and will try to defend its title after clinching the regular-season championship this year with a 5-0 conference record.

The women’s team went 3-0 in the regular season against WAC opponents and is fighting for its 10th WAC Tournament championship in 11 years.

The women will begin play on Thursday against No. 8 Louisiana Tech in an 8 a.m. quarterfinal match in what will be a rematch of last year’s championship, which Fresno State won, 4-0. The winner will advance to Friday’s 8 a.m. semifinal against the winner of No. 4 New Mexico State and No. 5 San Jose State. The tournament championship is set for 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Bulldogs are sending five veterans to the WAC Championships: Laura Pola, Bianca Modoc, Melissa McQueen, Olga Kirpicheva, Marianne Jodoin. Fresno State newcomers to the tournament are freshmen Aishwarya Agrawal and Anne Susdorf and sophomore Tanya Murtagh.

The men have a first-round bye in Saturday’s semifinal round and will play the winner between No. 4 New Mexico State and No. 5 Nevada at noon. The Bulldogs defeated both the Aggies and the Wolf Pack, 6-1, earlier this season.

In the other men’s semifinal, No. 2 Idaho will face the quarterfinal winner between No. 3 Hawaii and No. 6 Utah State. The tournament championship is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sunday.

Fresno State is sending four WAC championship veterans to the tournament: seniors Jean-Charles Diame, David Ayoun and Remi Boutillier and sophomore Francis Alcantara. Joining them in the tournament for the first time are junior Zachary Leslie, sophomore Jeremy Quiroz and freshmen Sai Kartik Nakireddi and Reid DeLaubenfels.

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