Women's Tennis Off to a Smashing Start

    The UCSD women’s tennis team earned its second victory in a row after defeating Grand Canyon University 8-1 at UCSD’s north courts on Friday.

    David Pilz
    Guardian

    The match against Grand Canyon displayed the dominance UCSD has in the singles portion of matches. The Tritons took five of the six singles matches, with clutch three-set performances from No. 1 freshman Ashley O’Neil and No. 3 junior Lyndsey Tadlock.

    No. 4 player Kristina Jansen, a freshman, and No. 6 player Jaime Walker, a senior, cruised to easy victories in their single matches 6-1, 6-1 and 6-0, 6-4 respectively.

    In the doubles competition, UCSD made a clean sweep of it. Tadlock and Stephanie Moriarity defeated Point Loma’s team of Robin Jaeger and Christina Klokinis 8-6. No. 2 team Julie Westerman and Melisa Liao defeated Christine Liwanpo and Sarah Mitchell 8-6; and the combo of O’Neil and Jansen defeated Denia Combs and Katie Robins 8-4. All of the elements that hurt them against Long Beach State University seemed to work against Point Loma.

    “”The Long Beach match was more of a practice for us, just to see what kind of tennis is out there,”” Liao said. “”We knew going in that the match was going to be really tough, and the team basically used it to get a feel for the competition in Division I.””

    On Jan. 30, the team from Point Loma Nazarene came to town and seemed no trouble for UCSD. Last year the Tritons won two matches against Point Loma, one with a score of 7-2, dropping only the first two singles matches. On Tuesday, the team won a comfortable 6-3 victory. In that match, UCSD’s No. 1 player O’Neil had a tough time handling Anna Sieczka from Point Loma and lost in a tough three-setter. Overall the singles portion favored the Tritons, as the remaining five players won their matches, capped by Westerman’s romp over Point Loma’s Julie Krause 6-1, 6-0.

    “”Against Point Loma, the match itself wasn’t too hard because we were psyched to rebound from the Long Beach loss,”” Liao said. “”We have been practicing so hard, trying to build some confidence and adapt to having a new team. We only have three returnees from last season, so we needed the victory to gel as a team.””

    With only three returnees, senior Walker, junior Tadlock, and sophomore Liao, the team must get used to the difference in play quickly to stay in the playoff hunt.

    “”It was hard at first to adapt to such new faces, but we knew we had to learn each other’s style quickly as the new season got underway,”” Liao said. “”I think the most important thing was that we took the time to know each other and have that team chemistry instead of making it individualistic. I think the young players will make strides in their game and become accustomed to the college game.””

    As they look ahead at the upcoming season, it is clear in the minds of the players that UC Davis is the team to beat. They are ranked first in the CCAA, and they have yet to play a conference game. The second seed is UCSD, with Sonoma State closely behind. Neither of these teams has lost a conference game. Thus, the weekend of March 3 will be the real key to the season, as the Tritons travel to Sonoma and Davis to face their bitter rivals.

    “”Davis is the team we want to beat,”” Liao said. “”We have such a positive attitude toward the chance to defeat the No. 1 team, and I feel that we have the team to do it. Our doubles are really strong and can be the difference between a loss and a win.””

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