MISSOULA — The Montana women's tennis team fell out of contention for a spot in the Big Sky Conference tournament later this month with a 7-0 loss to Idaho Friday at the Peak Racquet Club.
The loss dropped UM to 3-6 in league play and 7-14 overall. Idaho continued its march back to the league championship in improving to 7-1, 10-6.
Montana freshman Julia Ronney put in a gritty performance in her first college dual against the best player in the conference. Ronney pushed Idaho's Marianna Petrei — the defending league MVP who had been ranked as high as No. 44 in the nation this season — in both sets, holding leads early before Petrei's experience came through for a 6-3, 7-5 win.
Ronney, a San Diego native who has been featured at the top of UM's lineup since she arrived in Missoula in the fall, is now 5-3 in league play and the only freshman to sit in the Big Sky's top-five performers.
The Grizzlies started respectably in the doubles round, with Ronney and Lidia Dukic holding a 5-4 lead at No. 3 when the point was called in Idaho's favor. The Vandals clinched with a 6-4 win at No. 2 by the Badillos/Spataro pair over Catherine Orfanos and Nathalie Joanlanne.
Montana's troubles continued early in the singles round as the Vandals rattled off two quick wins over Cam Kincaid at No. 2 (6-0, 6-1) and Bianca Bostrom at No. 4 (6-1, 6-4) to take a 3-0 lead. Idaho then sealed the win at No. 1.
UM sports information