MISSOULA — The Montana women's tennis team had a doubles team advance to the quarterfinal round of the ITA Mountain Regional Tournament in Las Vegas over the weekend, highlighting yet another strong overall performance for the Griz in the fall tourney season.
The junior/freshman pair of Maria Goheen and Grace Haugen picked up three straight wins, including two over Pac-12 teams to advance to the quarterfinal of the 64-team main doubles draw.
UM also impressed in singles, picking up a total of six wins and competing hard in losses with six total matches going to three sets.
The ITA Mountain Regional is the premier event of the fall season, with the Griz testing themselves against the best in the Rocky Mountain West, with 20 teams from the Big Sky, Mountain West, Pac-12 and WAC all represented.
"Everyone competed really well," UM coach Steve Ascher said. "I think we're finding different gears, pulling out sets, and pushing people to the limit. There was a ton of good tennis against really good teams too, so it was a fantastic showing."
The positive results come on the heels of two other solid tournament performances this fall, where the Griz won three bracket titles and advanced to a slew of semifinal and final rounds.
"I think that's the theme overall our team right now. The consistency has just been fantastic," Ascher said.
"Things are starting to present themselves a little clearer in terms of where we need to go with our game and what we need to work on. We've had consistent efforts this fall, and that's huge."
On the outdoor courts at UNLV's Fertitta Tennis Complex, Montana made its biggest splash of this year's regionals in doubles, where the Griz were one of just two Big Sky teams to make the quarterfinals.
Goheen, who just two weeks ago won a doubles bracket title at the Washington State Invite, and Haugen, who already has an upset over an opponent from Boise State under her belt this fall, paired up to beat teams from Nevada, Utah, and Colorado to advance to the quarters.
In the opening round, the two Grizzlies beat Nevada's top team 8-6, then advanced on to beat University of Utah's Dush/Tattini pair, the tournament's No.3 overall seed, 8-6 as well. The UM pair then took on the Colorado Buffaloes' Forster/Stanojevic pair and came away with yet another win, this time in an 8-7 (5) tiebreaker.
Goheen and Haugen would eventually fall to Weber State's Morett/Kuo pair in a tight 8-6 battle in the tournament quarterfinal.
"They showed a lot of discipline, and I thought they were really good mentally in terms of deciphering and picking out strategies, and really digging in and sticking with it," Ascher added.
"I think they learned a lot the first two tournaments leading into regionals."
In singles, Haugen also picked up one of Montana's top wins in the first round of the main draw, defeating UNLV sophomore Salsa Aher on her home court 6-4, 7-5, and then pushing Colorado State's Radka Buzkova to the limit in three sets, falling 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 in the second round.
In the second singles flight, UM sophomore Ivayla Mitkova and senior Lauren Dunlap each picked up wins, with Mitkova beating Idaho's Nicole Horacek 6-4, 6-3, and Dunlap beating Montana State's Andrea Cuqerella 7-6, 7-6. Dunlap then nearly pulled off another UM upset, falling to Utah's Sam Horwood 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
In added singles matches, UM's Olivia Oosterbaan picked up a big win over Montana State's Mirte Van Baelen in a third set tiebreaker 6-2, 4-6, 11-9. UM freshman Rosie Sterk and Goheen also picked up wins in flight two added matches, with Sterk beating an opponent from Dixie State and Goheen beating a player from Wyoming, both in straight sets.
Montana will finish up its fall tournament season on Nov. 5-7 at the Gonzaga Fall Invitational in Spokane before beginning preparations for the spring dual season in mid-January.