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Aztecs Eye MWC Regular Season Championship

SDSU plays host to BYU, Utah and UNLV this weekend with the MWC crown on the line.
SDSU plays host to BYU, Utah and UNLV this weekend with the MWC crown on the line.

April 14, 2011

SAN DIEGO - The 46th-ranked San Diego State women's tennis team welcomes BYU, No. 55 Utah and No. 43 UNLV to Aztec Tennis Center this weekend with their sights on the 2011 Mountain West Conference regular season championship.

The Aztecs, who are 5-0 in league play (14-7 overall), will play host to the Cougars (9-8; 4-1 MWC) on Friday at 2 p.m. PT before rolling out the welcome mat for the Utes (11-8; 5-0 MWC) on Saturday at noon PT. SDSU wraps up the regular season with the Rebels (16-4; 5-0 MWC) on Sunday at 10 a.m. PT.

In other Mountain West Action on Montezuma Mesa, Utah and UNLV will square off on Friday at 2 p.m. PT. Then on Saturday, the Rebels and Cougars will clash at noon PT. Both contests will be played at Aztec Tennis Center.

The Aztecs, who have won 10 of their last 11 matches, are in the midst of their best winning stretch since the 2003 campaign when that squad won 13 of 14 en route to a 22-6 overall record, a 6-1 mark within the MWC and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

SDSU will look to capture its third Mountain West Conference regular season crown and its first since the 2003 season when it shared it with UNLV. The Aztecs won the championship outright in 2002.

San Diego State sits atop the league standings at 5-0 with both UNLV and Utah after sweeping New Mexico and TCU last weekend in Albuquerque. Against the Lobos, the Aztecs won the doubles point and went on to take five of the six singles matches to post the 6-1 victory. The next day vs. the Horned Frogs, SDSU won in an unconventional way as it lost the doubles point, but claimed five singles contests to pull away from TCU and log the 5-2 win. The victory was unconventional because it marked the first time this season the Aztecs lost the doubles point and rallied for the win.

SDSU junior Sierra Ellison enters this week's matches carrying a six-match winning streak in singles and is one half of the Ellison-Ellison duo, which is ranked No. 69 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings and is the only MWC tandem that own a national ranking. Roxanne Ellison, the other half of Ellison-Ellison, meanwhile, has won two in a row in singles. The pair is 10-5 in doubles this spring and owns a 2010-11 record of 20-6.

The Aztecs recent run of success can be linked to the return of Roxanne Ellison. Hurt (ankle) in the fourth match of the campaign vs. No. 15 Washington, Ellison missed seven consecutive contests and San Diego State responded by losing five straight and six of seven. The junior, however, returned vs. No. 30 Pepperdine and helped the Scarlet and Black upset the Waves. The decision was the first of eight straight victories for SDSU and brings us to the present where the Aztecs are 10-1 in their last 11.

Friday's opponent, BYU, has won four in a row after dropping the MWC opener to TCU back on April 1. A year ago, Brigham Young split two matches with San Diego State. The Cougars got the best of the Aztecs in the regular season, winning 5-2 in Provo, but SDSU returned the favor in the conference tournament as it handed Brigham Young a 4-2 quarterfinal loss in Las Vegas. BYU leads the all-time series, 23-20.

Utah visits America's Finest City having won six straight. In 2010, like its series with BYU, San Diego State went 1-1 vs. the Utes. The Aztecs fell in Salt Lake City, 5-2, and defeated Utah in the semifinals of the MWC Championship, 4-1, en route to a berth in the conference tournament final. SDSU owns the all-time series lead vs. the Utes, 19-4.

UNLV makes the short trip south to San Diego having won five in a row. Last season, the Rebels defeated the Aztecs, 4-3, in Las Vegas and have won nine straight vs. San Diego State. Of those nine losses, six took place away from Montezuma Mesa. To find SDSU's last victory over UNLV, one needs to go back to the 2002 campaign when it posted the 4-3 win in San Diego during the regular season. With its recent success, UNLV is 14-10 vs. the Aztecs all-time.

After this weekend, San Diego State will head to the MWC Championship in Fort Collins, Colo. The tournament runs from April 27-April 30. Pairings will be announced following the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday.