Monthly Archives: May 2018

Idaho Men’s Tennis Ousted by UCLA

The UCLA Bruins (27-2) defeated the Idaho men’s tennis team, 4-0, on May 12 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, ending Idaho’s season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.


(Vandal Athletics photo)

“I think the battle in our team was there,” coach Abid Akbat said. “Hats off to UCLA. They are No. 2 in the nation.”

The Bruins did not drop a single set in the completed matches Saturday, but the Vandals had their moments.

Senior Mark Kovacs played Martin Redlicki, the nation’s no. 1 player, in singles, and got out to a 4-3 lead. Redlicki closed out the set 6-4 and held a 5-2 lead when the match was stopped.

“Mark is a tough competitor,” Akbar said. “He gave the No. 1 guy in the nation a run for his money. What a great way to end his career.”


(Photo: Mark Kovacs, April 18, 2018)

Also in singles: Guilherme Scarpelli split sets with No. 103 Logan Staggs at the No. 4 position.

Successful season

Idaho clinched the Big Sky’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the conference championship, shutting out Weber State in the semifinals before sweeping Montana in the championship match.


Idaho also won the Big Sky Championship last year and played No. 16 Stanford, falling 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Idaho senior Mark Kovacs was a Big Sky First Team honoree for singles. Kovacs won seven league matches totaling 11 wins playing mostly at the No. 1 spot, and he leaves Idaho as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 97.

“Guys like him do not come around very often,” Akbar said.

Kovacs also headlines the First Team All-Conference award winners for doubles along with Carlos Longhi Neto. Kovacs and Longhi Neto went 14-6 on the season and 7-4 in conference all at the top position. Additionally, the pair went 2-0 in the championship winning a pair of 6-4 matches versus Weber State and Montana

Felipe Fonseca was a the Men’s Singles Second Team All-Conference selection. Carlos Longhi Neto earned Honorable Mention. Lucas Coutinho and Esteban Santibanez earned Honorable Mention in Men’s Doubles.

Posted May 13, 2018


Idaho Women’s Tennis: “This season was fantastic”

Pepperdine defeated Idaho, 4-0, in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Tournament on May 11.

“The score does not show it but I think our girls played very well,” Idaho coach Babar Akbar said.


(Photo courtesy Vandal Athletics)

Pepperdine advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament the next day, defeating Kansas, 4-1.

“We played a very tough team,” Akbar said. “They are going to go very far in this tournament.”

The loss ended the season for the Vandals (15-7), the fifth straight year the program has played in the NCAAs.

“Nobody likes to end the season with a loss,” Akbar said. “This season was fantastic as a whole. We wanted to prove that we could go back out and win the Big Sky again and we did.”

Successful 2018

In his second season as coach, Akbar was recognized by his coaching peers as the Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year. Idaho won its fourth consecutive Big Sky Conference women’s tennis championship, knocking out Southern Utah in the semifinals before outlasting Northern Arizona in the championship match. Idaho was 10-1 in conference play.


The team had four All-Conference honorees this season.

Marianna Petrei was honored as the Big Sky’s Most Valuable Player for the third time in her career, becoming the fourth player to win MVP three times.

Maria Tavares joined teammate Petrei on First Team All-Conference singles after going 14-5 on the season. Tavares was the only player to go 11-0 in conference playing most of the team’s matches at No. 2 singles.

Tavares and Petrei also formed a very good doubles team, going 9-3 at the No. 1 spot to earn First Team Doubles All-Conference. The duo had a 5-1 record in Big Sky play.


(Photo: Marianna Petrei and Maria Tavares, April 21, 2018)

Laura Spataro and Lucia Badillos both earned Singles Second Team All-Conference honors and an Honorable Mention in Women’s Doubles.

Petrei will compete as an individual at the NCAA Singles Championships at Wake Forest on May 23, becoming Idaho’s first singles player to qualify for the field of 64.

Looking ahead

The Idaho program has won five straight conference championships, dating back to the Western Athletic Conference.

After a 7-0 loss to the Vandals on April 14, Montana State coach Jon Reeves said, “Idaho is obviously a really good team and have been the premier program in the league the last three years. They’re in tournament mode. Mentally they are very tough and they’re disciplined point-to-point.”

The Vandals return all but one player for the 2018-19 season. Senior Lucia Badillos graduated on May 12.

“Lucia was a fantastic player for us,” Akbar said. “What we will miss is what she brought to the team as a captain. That is going to be hard to replace. Some of these girls are going to have to step up into that senior role.

“I’m glad to have six players that know what it takes to win the conference back in the lineup next year. That is a good place to be,” Akbar said.

Posted May 13, 2018



Vandals Close Season at NCAA Regional

Sophie Hausmann recorded the first sub-par score at a regional in program history, as the Idaho women’s golf team completed its 2018 campaign tying for 14th place at the NCAA Madison Regional in Wisconsin.


(All photos courtesy UI Women’s Golf and Vandal Athletics)

“It was fun to see our team match up with elite competition and we did not back down,” coach Lisa Johnson said.

The Vandals posted a 41-over 905 (306-297-302), the program’s best score at a regional.

Hausmann finished at 1-under to tie for 11th overall individually, carding a 215 (72-71-72) over the 54 holes. Her 11th-place finish is the second best showing by a Vandal at an NCAA Regional.

“Sophie had an outstanding week,” Johnson said. “She competed really well and proved she belongs among the nation’s elite.”

The 215 total score turned in by Hausmann breaks the previous school record at a regional tournament by three strokes. She hit 48 out of 54 greens in regulation for the week, including 17 in the final round.

Valeria Patino carded a 226 (74-75-77) in her regional postseason debut. Michelle Kim was the third top finisher for the Vandals with a three-round score of 229 (79-74-76). Senior Kendall Gray, playing in her last tournament for Idaho, carded a 236 (81-78-77) and Laura Gerner had a 54-hole total of 237 (80-78-79) to round out Idaho scoring.


“The team rose to the challenge at a big event on a golf course that played very long and was set up for a championship tournament,” Johnson said.

The 297 posted by the team on Tuesday was the first sub-300 round at an NCAA Regional in program history Tuesday, as all five golfers improved on their scores from the first round on Monday.


Idaho, the 2018 Big Sky champions, finished the season with a new 54-hole Big Sky record at the conference championships. Hausmann earned Big Sky Player of the Year and Individual Player of the Year honors, and the Vandals had the top two scorers at the league championships.

Posted May 9, 2018


Idaho’s General Fund Receipts Short of the Forecast in April

Idaho’s General Fund receipts were short of the forecast in April, according to the May 2018 General Fund Revenue Report from the Idaho Division of Financial Management.


The month’s receipts of $534.3 million were $29.9 million less than the expected $564.2 million. Actual collections for the month were 0.4% below the previous April, “much lower than the anticipated 5.1% growth,” according to the report.

Despite the month’s shortfall, General Fund receipts exceed the fiscal year-to-date forecast by $116.9 million (3.8%), $3,166.0 million versus $3,049.2 million, the report says.

Individual income tax collections “dominated this month’s General Fund shortfall,” according to the report. Actual collections were $360.2 million, under the anticipated
$398.6 million. Collections were projected to grow by 9.4%, but instead declined 1.2% from April 2017.

The Division of Financial Management says part of this shortfall was offset by corporate tax receipts that were about $10.1 million (20.3%) above the forecast.

The report says “lower-than-forecasted individual filing collections were the reason for this month’s individual income tax $38.4 million shortfall. The filing collections shortfall of $48.9 million was even larger than the total shortfall.”

State officials say that a deficit of this size in the biggest collection month would usually raise alarms, but it was anticipated that filing payments would come in earlier than usual, as some Idahoans shifted income from 2018 to 2017 in response to the federal tax reform.

Posted May 8, 2018




“Spring is here and the rivers are rising”

Widespread mountain snow-melt is occurring in Idaho, according to the latest water supply outlook report issued by the The Natural Resources Conservation Service for the 2018 water year.


“Spring is here and the rivers are rising,” Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist for the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service, said in a news release. “Some rivers have peaked in southern Idaho while others are several weeks away from seeing their snow-melt stream flow peak.

“In addition, streams along the Montana border will benefit from the abundant and record high snow that fell in Montana and see an extended high water season,” Abramovich said.

The report says precipitation since the water year started on October 1, 2017, varies across the state. Watersheds are ranging from 80 to 125% of normal. Snow packs range from nearly melted out in the Owyhee basin to 140% in the Clearwater and Panhandle Region.

Stream flow volume forecasts mirror Idaho’s snow pack with volume forecasts ranging from 35% to 70% of average across Idaho’s southern basins to 135% to 145% in the Selway River, northern Idaho and a few Snake River tributaries in Wyoming, according to the report.

The report says despite the below average snow pack and precipitation in some basins, “Idaho’s reservoirs are in great shape,” a combination expected to “provide most users across the state with an adequate water supply.”

The report issued May 3 was the fifth water supply outlook report for the 2018 water year.

Posted May 6, 2018



221,800 are Food Insecure in Idaho


Idaho’s food insecurity rate is 13.2 percent of the total population of the state, or 221,800 individuals, according to this year’s ‘Map the Meal Gap’ report from the ‘Feeding America’ organization.

According to the report, Idaho’s rate is down from the 14 percent of the total population, or 232,180 people, found in last year’s study.


(Graphic courtesy Feeding America)

Feeding America says that “food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members and limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. Food-insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.”

The report says food insecurity affects 16.7 percent of Idaho’s children under 18 years old, about 72,840 children. This is down from 17.6 percent and 76,070 children in the 2017 report.

“Once again, we’re seeing wonderful news for the thousands of Idahoans who have been able to end their time of hunger,” Karen Vauk, President and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank, said in a news release. “Even with the good news, it’s important to not forget the nearly 222,000 who still need our help. They’re in every community in our state. That’s why this work continues.”

In addition, the Idaho Foodbank says that while the number of Idahoans who are food-insecure has dropped, the number of people who can’t access SNAP benefits because of income qualifications has gone up from 68, 261 to 75,190. The Foodbank says that means more individuals who are coming up short and are relying on food banks and pantries to help.

Feeding America says that in more than 100 counties across the country, the majority of the people facing hunger are unable to qualify for federal nutrition programs.

“While the Feeding America nationwide network of food banks delivers more than four billion meals annually to people facing hunger, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) serves 12 meals for every one meal we provide,” Matt Knott, president of Feeding America, said in a news release. “As Congress debates the 2018 Farm Bill, SNAP must be protected and strengthened so that people facing hunger and working to re-establish independent lives have the essential food resources they need.”

The hardest-hit counties in Idaho for total food insecurity were Madison (19.8 percent), Latah (17.5), Shoshone (17.1), and Lemhi (16.2).

“Feeding America is particularly concerned about the ongoing challenges facing rural and southern communities since the Great Recession,” Knott said. “While we are relieved that food-insecurity rates have slightly declined in recent years, the total number of people facing hunger is still higher than it was before 2008.”

The Idaho Foodbank says that in its most recent fiscal year, it distributed food for more than 15.5 million meals to all 44 counties in the state.

Feeding American has been conducting the study since 2011. This latest study uses data from 2016; the data is from USDA, the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Posted May 5, 2018.



Petrei Wins Third Big Sky MVP

Idaho Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams Honored by Big Sky Conference


Idaho’s Marianna Petrei has been voted the Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player for the third straight season.

“Marianna has done really well this year,” coach Babar Akbar said in a news release. “She has had some fantastic wins. She has helped put Idaho tennis on the map.”

Petrei joins Sacramento State’s Margarita Karnaukhova, Katrina Zheltova and Tatsiana Kapshai as the only Big Sky players to win MVP at least three times.

Idaho’s Galina Bykova won the Big Sky MVP Award in 2015 and Idaho’s Victoria Lozano was named WAC Player of the Year in 2014. Idaho’s Cathy Law was Big Sky MVP in 1990.


(Photo courtesy Big Sky Conference)

Petrei, currently the 31st ranked singles player in the nation, went 15-3 on the season with an unblemished 9-0 record in BSC play. The junior has not lost a conference match since joining the Vandals as a freshman going 30-0 with all matches being played at No. 1 singles.

Idaho Women’s Tennis also had four players honored across the First and Second Teams. Maria Tavares joined Petrei as one of the six singles players to make First Team All-Conference. Lucia Badillos and Laura Spataro were both selected Second Team All-Big Sky.

Tavares and Petrei were 9-3 at the No. 1 doubles spot to earn First Team Doubles All-Conference. The duo also had a 5-1 record in Big Sky play and have a four match winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament.

The Vandals are prepping for their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, taking on Pepperdine on May 11.

Idaho Men’s Tennis 

Five members of the Idaho men’s tennis team earned All-Big Sky honors.

Marc Kovacs repeated as a First Team All-Conference selection in both singles and doubles.


(Idaho Public Radio photo)

Kovacs won seven league matches totaling 11 wins playing mostly at the No. 1 spot.

Felipe Fonseca earned recognition for his singles play, picking up a Second Team selection. Carlos Longhi Neto was voted Honorable Mention in singles and was First Team All-Conference in doubles along with Kovacs. The team of Lucas Coutinho and Esteban Santibanez was Honorable Mention.

“Credit goes to the team,” coach Abid Akbar said. “They have worked hard and ground it out all season. It is awesome to see the rest of the conference reward them for that.”

The Idaho men will head to California for the NCAA Tournament to take on No. 2 UCLA on Saturday, May 12.

Coach of the Year

Idaho’s Women’s Tennis coach Babar Akbar was voted Big Sky Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year.

Akbar, in his second season as head coach, led Idaho to its fourth consecutive women’s tennis championship. Idaho went 15-6 this year including a 10-1 mark in conference play and avenged its regular season loss to Northern Arizona in the championship.

Babar, a native of Islamabad, Pakistan, joined his brother Abid, the men’s coach, on the Idaho staff two years ago and is also an assistant coach for the men’s program. The two brothers become the first siblings to both earn Big Sky Coach of the Year in any sport with Abid garnering the men’s tennis award in 2017.

Posted May 4, 2018.