Batta and Josifoska complete careers at UNLV
The women’s tennis season came to an end on April 26 when UNLV lost to Fresno State 4-3 in the conference tournament quarterfinal match, and the book closed on the careers of two of the school’s greatest stars.
Lucia Batta ended her senior season on a high note — defeating her opponent in straight sets. The win elevated Batta’s record for the season to 27-9, which was good enough to earn her All Mountain West Conference honors for the fourth straight year.
She was feeling a lot of pressure this year, and she played a very tough schedule,” said head coach Kevin Cory. “She can hold her head up high knowing that she has done her coach and her university proud. She’s a rebel through and through.”
Batta’s historic career fell short of putting her atop UNLV’s all-time win list. Her 121 career singles wins were only four shy of the mark. Twenty-eight of them came from January-May 2013 when Batta shattered the school record for consecutive singles wins.
She twice earned trips to the NCAA Tournament for singles play and was named the 2012 Mountain West Player of the Year. Batta was a mainstay in the national rankings throughout her career, with her highest point being Jan. 2, 2014 when she jumped to 29th in the country.
Batta also tied former Rebel star and All-American Elena Gantcheva for the most conference Player of the Week honors with nine.
“It’s just awesome,” Batta said, while reminiscing over the past four years. “I loved playing for UNLV, and I loved playing on Kevin’s team. I’m kind of sad that it’s over.”
What makes Batta’s career outstanding is that it coincided with another name that will go down in the history books at UNLV — Aleksandra Josifoska.
“She was my teammate and my best friend,” Batta said. “We are like sisters, and she had such a great career. I just love her.”
Josifoska ended with a win as well, bringing her all time conference record to 28-1. Her lone conference loss came in 2011.
The four-year player from Skopje, Macedonia was also named to her fourth All Mountain West team; all after recovering from a serious wrist surgery last summer that delayed her start to the season.
“It was honestly the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me,” she said. “I never had an injury in my life before, so I was really disappointed.”
In 2013 Josifoska was named Mountain West Player of the year, as well as Sportswoman of the Year.
Her career record ended at 77-48, but like Batta, she always played her best tennis in the conference tournament.
“It just shows when the pressure is at it’s highest, they were at their best and that’s what true champions do,” Cory said.
Josifoska’s career-defining moment was in the 2013 Mountain West Tournament, when she won the match-clinching point in every single match on the way to winning the title.
She ended her career on a seven-match winning streak in tournament matches.
“Everything you do goes to school history, but the conference tournament is something special,” Josifoska said.
While it can be debated who the best player in UNLV history is, Batta and Josifoska left no doubt that they are the best tandem.
“Those are the exact kind of people you want on your team,” Cory said. “They’re a coach’s dream.”