Feb. 10, 2017
BOISE, Idaho - Freshman Jovana Kuljanin completed a heroic comeback to lift Boise State women's tennis to a 4-3 win Friday, against Portland. Kuljanin rallied from a set down and won a third-set tiebreaker in the deciding match to propel the Broncos (4-1) to their third straight win.
"For a freshman to be in that spot after dropping the first set 6-1 and being down 5-3 in the third, to get herself into a tiebreaker and play the way she did at the end of that match is really impressive," said head coach Beck Roghaar. "A lot of the goals we have and things we want to do this year and beyond, we're going to need that type of competitive attitude from our group. To see that this early and against a team we know and respect, is a big win for us. I couldn't be more proud of them or more pleased with the effort."
Kuljanin shook off a 6-1 setback in the first set to take the second set 6-3 and set up what would become a dramatic third set at No. 5 singles. Trailing 5-3, and with Portland winning matches all around, the freshman won the next two games. Portland's Anna Oberg shot back to go ahead 6-5, but Kuljanin forced the match-deciding tiebreaker. After losing the first point, she built a 5-2 lead and went on to win 7-3, setting off a joyous celebration with her Boise State teammates.
The Pilots (1-5) were limited to five student-athletes, thus unable to field a No. 3 doubles pair or a No. 6 singles entrant. The singles forfeit gave Boise State a point, but the doubles point remained in the balance with the top two positions taking the court to start the match.
Hanna Kantenwein and Nancy Menjivar paired up for the first time this spring, battling for a big 6-4 win at the No. 2 position. The freshman duo of Anja Dokic and Lilian Poling fought to a tiebreaker, but ultimately fell 7-6 (5) at No. 1 doubles. The Broncos took the doubles point by virtue of wins at No. 2 and No. 3.
"This was an incredibly gutsy performance from our group today," Roghaar said. "We got down early at number two doubles and had to climb our way back to win that one, which became really important. I was happy we carried that momentum into singles."
Dokic took the momentum and ran with it. She quickly worked her way to a 6-2, 6-4 win at No. 3 singles, giving Boise State a 3-0 lead in the team scoring. Kantenwein took a 6-3 decision in the first set at the No. 1 position. Then Portland came roaring back.
The Pilots won the first set on courts two, four and five, then forced a third set against Kantenwein. A straight-sets win at No. 2 and a third-set win at No. 3 brought the Pilots within one of the Broncos. While Kuljanin trailed late in her third set on court five, Portland's Jelena Lukic completed her comeback on court one and the match was tied.
Kuljanin stepped up and delivered the clinching match for the Broncos.
"I can't give Portland enough credit," said Roghaar. "They are an incredible team and they competed as well as any team we've ever played against."
The Broncos return to action Sunday, against Idaho State. The match will be played at Eagle Tennis Center in a simultaneous doubleheader with the Boise State men's tennis team. All 12 courts will get going at 1:30 p.m. MT.
Boise State 4 Portland 3
Feb. 10, 2017 | Boise, Idaho
1. Lukic/Lazarevic (Portland) def. Dokic/Poling (Boise State) 7-6 (5)
2. Kantenwein/Menjivar (Boise State) def. Grigoryan/Soares (Portland) 6-4
3. Venter/Kuljanin (Boise State) def. Oberg/Okazaki (Portland) Forfeit
Order of Finish: 3, 2, 1
1. Jelena Lukic (Portland) def. Hanna Kantenwein (Boise State) 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
2. Jelena Lazarevic (Portland) def. Lilian Poling (Boise State) 6-2, 6-2
3. Anja Dokic (Boise State) def. Tatiana Grigoryan (Portland) 6-2, 6-4
4. Emily Soares (Portland) def. Nancy Menjivar (Boise State) 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
5. Jovana Kuljanin (Boise State) def. Anna Oberg (Portland) 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3)
6. Kirsty Venter (Boise State) def. Kara Okazaki (Portland) Forfeit
Order of Finish 6, 3, 2, 4, 1, 5