The No. 14 UCSD women’s tennis team lost its second straight Division II match against No. 20 Rollins University, 7-2, on March 13, dropping the Tritons’ overall season record to 6-5.
UCSD’s No. 2 doubles team of senior Christy Knudsen (left) and junior Justine Ang Fonte fell 7-9 to a duo from No. 20 Rollins College along with UCSD’s two other doubles teams in its 7-2 loss on March 13.
The loss came against one of the nation’s tougher opponents. Assistant coach Timmer Willing was surprised by Rollins’ subpar ranking so far this year.
“”They are annually in the top 10,”” he said. “”I don’t know why they are ranked so low.””
The team fell into an early hole 0-3 after losing all three of its doubles matches. All three matches were very close, and the Tritons had their chances. No. 1 doubles seniors Marsha Malinow and Ina Dan lost 5-8 while No. 2 doubles junior Justine Ang Fonte and senior Christy Knudsen fell 7-9. No. 3 doubles senior Allison Legakis and sophomore Yekaterina Milvidskaia’s 6-8 loss completed Rollins University’s sweep of doubles play.
Despite being swept in doubles play, head coach Liz LaPlante was satisfied with the performance.
“”I was pleased with the doubles,”” she said. “”I felt we played much better in doubles [No.] 3.””
The three-point deficit proved insurmountable as the Tritons dropped four of the six singles matches to close out the match.
“”It’s much more difficult [to win down 0-3] against an opponent of this caliber,”” LaPlante said.
With senior captain Malinow not playing singles to prevent her from aggravating her abdominal strain, all the players had to move up one spot.
“”It’s definitely harder,”” Dan said of playing without Malinow. “”It puts more pressure on everyone individually.””
No. 1 singles Dan had a very tough time with her opponent as she lost after only two sets, 0-6, 2-6.
“”She was just really tough,”” Dan said. “”She’s ranked number 10 individually, so I knew it would be a hard match. I just couldn’t focus.””
Along with Dan, the other top three singles players fell as well. No. 2 singles Fonte lost in a back-and-forth match, losing in three sets 0-6, 6-0, 0-6. No. 3 singles freshman Pooja Desai and No. 4 singles sophomore Tessa Tran both lost in straight sets by scores of 3-6, 2-6.
The two wins came from the bottom two singles spots as No. 5 singles Legakis and No. 6 singles Knudsen won. Legakis had a straight set victory 6-1, 6-4, while Knudsen had a tough three-set win, 6-0, 1-6, 6-4.
For Malinow, it was very hard to watch the Tritons falter against a stronger opponent.
“”It’s already pretty tough to watch for me because I know they’re all struggling,”” she said. “”Juggling the lineup didn’t help and if I could play No. 1, the girls could have played in a more comfortable position. It was pretty nerve wracking.””
While disappointing, there were positives to the match. The singles victories from the bottom two players showed the depth of this year’s team.
“”It was tougher without Marsha because everyone had to move up one spot,”” LaPlante said. “”The depth of our team is obvious with the last two spots, Ali and Christy, winning.””
The Tritons followed up their loss to Rollins University with a 8-1 win against No. 24 William Jewel College on March 14, but details were unavailable at press time. The Tritons will then play three straight games from March 25 to March 27 as part of their current seven-game home stand.