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BSU's Pietzuch twins a 'rock' for women's tennis program

BSU's Pietzuch twins a 'rock' for women's tennis program
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Marlena and Manuela Pietzuch originally planned to arrive together as Boise State freshman in 2009, continuing the life they were used to as twins growing up in Germany.

"We always practice together," Marlena said. "We always had a partner to play with - it was very convenient."

"We already had our flights booked and everything, and two weeks before that we got a message that one of us could come and the other could not."

The problem was an SAT score, and it meant Manuela would have to re-take the test and wait to enroll in January.

The twins said then-head coach Mark Tichenor promised them they'd be reunited in January of that year.

"The coach back then then told us he can't accept her because we would have to sit out a couple matches because of NCAA reasons."

Tichenor was the coach responsible for multiple major NCAA violations resulting in the loss of scholarships, practice time and post-season eligibility in 2012. Boise State and Tichenor parted ways in November 2010.

Disappointed, Manuela spent two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.

"I think that split was a good thing," Marlena said. "We started telling each other things we never had before, and when [Manuela] came here we got even closer."

The pair reunited at Boise State in 2011 under new head coach Beck Roghaar.

"Part of the challenge of having them here is letting them know that they're both separate, they aren't the same," Roghaar said. "They are different people, different players."

Professionalism and commitment to competition and classroom is what Roghaar said he'll remember most about the Pietzuch twins - evident when I asked them who had the competitive edge.

"I have a feeling we've never had a comptition against each other in rankings," Marlena said. "No," chimed in Manuela.

"We would always be - this time you win, this time I win. We just want the best for each other, since we are twins and sisters we just want the other person to do well in whatever we are doing."

The pair will take the Appleton Tennis Center courts for the last time this Saturday as Boise State's No. 1 doubles. The twins are 11-8 this season as partners.

Marlena is ranked regionally as a singles player, and has won over 150 career matches at Boise State.

Both, along with Boise native senior Fiona Mok, will be honored prior to the Broncos Saturday match against Nevada.
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