Apr 17, 2024

🎾 Mendez forces third-set tiebreak in singles, Tigers fall to No. 29 Lopers

Posted Apr 17, 2024 11:54 PM
FHSU Athletics photo/Ryan Prickett
FHSU Athletics photo/Ryan Prickett

FHSU Athletics

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State Tennis played its final home match of the spring on Wednesday, falling to No. 29 ranked Nebraska-Kearney by a score of 7-0. The Tigers fought hard, but the Lopers were too much to overcome with two nationally ranked and five regionally ranked individuals. UNK moved to 14-4 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA, while FHSU is now 6-11 overall and 0-6 in the MIAA.

FHSU celebrated Senior Day prior to the match as Fiorella Mendez is the lone graduating senior on the squad this year. Over four years at FHSU, Mendez has collected over 50 wins in singles and doubles action combined and she had a thrilling singles match on Wednesday against Loper opponent Alexis Bernthal. Heidi Lubbers also likely played her final home match with sister Hope in exhibition doubles as she plans to focus on her educational goals in her upcoming senior year of 2024-25.

Mendez fell in the first set of her singles match with Bernthal 6-1, but battled back for a 6-4 second set win to force a third-set tiebreak. Mendez battled Bernthal throughout the tiebreak forcing a win-by-two situation, but unfortunately Bernthal, a regionally ranked player, won the tiebreak 12-10. Mendez was the only Tiger to take her match to three sets.

Nebraska-Kearney's top five singles players were all regionally ranked, but the Tigers still put up a valiant fight. At No. 1 singles, Shreethika Vangala had a few set point opportunities against regionally ranked Melisa Becerra, but ultimately Becerra rallied to win the opening set 7-5 and went on to win 6-1 in the second. Irina Alfonso fell to No. 31 nationally ranked Fabiana Gamboa at No. 2 singles 6-2, 6-0. Yone Pereiro fell to No. 29 nationally ranked Jazmin Zamorano at No. 2 singles 6-3, 6-2. Ines Latorre fell to a regionally ranked Loper in the No. 4 match 6-1, 6-1, and Grace Unruh fell in her No. 6 match 6-1, 6-0.

In doubles play, the No. 2 team of Alfonso and Latorre and the No. 3 team of Pereiro and Unruh each fell by scores of 6-3. UNK's No. 45 nationally ranked doubles pair of Becerra and Narindra Ranaivo won the No. 1 match over Mendez and Vangala 6-1.

In exhibition play, the Lubbers twins fell 6-0 in doubles action. In singles exhibition, Bethan Gill and Ines Steeman each came up short by scores of 6-2 and 6-0 respectively.


Fort Hays State goes on the road for its final four matches of the season. They play a pair of non-conference matches this weekend in Arkadelphia, Arkansas at Ouachita Baptist and Henderson State, neighboring Great American Conference schools that are right across the street from each other.