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COUGAR WOMEN EDGE AZTECS TO WIN WAC TENNIS TITLE

BYU coach Ann Valentine called Saturday's 5-4 win over San Diego State for the WAC tennis championship "one of the most exciting matches I've ever been involved in."

The 28-year coaching veteran is retiring from coaching after recording 427 dual match wins and earning numerous league, regional and tournament championships.The Cougars and the Aztecs split singles, with SDSU winning at first, second, and fourth singles and BYU picking up victories at three, five and six.

BYU jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead with Julie Menefee and Ogden freshman Adrien Alder taking 6-3, 6-3 and 6-4, 6-4 wins at No. 5 and No. 6 singles respectively.

At No. 1, SDSU's Lisa Alipaz beat a still weak Cherie Kaneshiro, who was forced to sit out Friday's semifinal match due to illness, 6-3, 6-2.

The Cougars' Jennifer Saret won the first set of her match 6-3 and was up 30-love on a 4-4 tie in the second when she sprained an ankle and was forced to retire, giving the win at No. 2 to SDSU's Jeanette Bhaguandas.

Salt Lake's Angela Nelson gave BYU its first victory of the day with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 win. The Aztecs' Christy Propstra then defeated Michelle Domanico by a nearly identical score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

With Saret out, the Cougars had to move Adrien Alder into the doubles lineup and alter the doubles order in accordance to the strength of the makeshift teams.

Alipaz and Nguyen pulled out a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win over Menefee and Domanico at No. 1 to put the pressure on the two remaining teams.

After Adrien Alder and Kaneshiro won a third set tiebreaker to grab a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 win over Propstra and Doyle at No. 3, the match and the WAC title came down to Nelson and Juliet Alder at No. 2. The duo lost the first set 6-3 to Tamara Bridges and Bhaguandas, then came back for a 6-4 win in the second.

In the third, it looked like the title was going to change hands, as the Aztec pair jumped out to a 5-3 lead. But the Cougars refused to give up and came back to win the last four games for a 7-5 win.

Kaneshiro and Saret were both named to the All-WAC team in singles and Domanico/Menefee and Saret/Kaneshiro in doubles. Valentine closed out her illustrious coaching career with her third straight WAC Coach of the Year award.

Alipaz was named WAC Player of the Year, Utah's Mirja Wallmark Newcomer of the Year, and UNM's Alicia Meraz was given the league's Sportsmanship Award.

In the other matches Saturday, Fresno State defeated New Mexico 5-4 for fourth place and Utah beat UTEP 5-1 to finish sixth.