Women Pull out of Ojai

It’s nitty-gritty time and the UCSD women’s tennis team is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to duplicate in Division II the success it had for years in Division III.

Each season, before the regional and national finals, the best players in each division go to Ojai, Calif., for individual tournaments. The results in these tournaments determine the All-American team and also the individual national champions in singles and doubles.

With many on the team concerned with their injuries and academics, coach Liz LaPlante decided to skip Ojai this season and concentrate on the more important team accolades that follow.

“”We defaulted out of Ojai because of injuries and problems with missing too much class,”” LaPlante said.

The Tritons are the fourth-ranked team in the West region and boast being ranked 11th in the country. They head to Hawaii on Friday, not for a relaxing vacation bathing on the beach, but to take on Hawaii Pacific in what effectively is the first round of the national championship tournament.

“”This is actually the first round of NCAA nationals, but [it’s] played at a regional site,”” LaPlante said. “”If we beat Hawaii Pacific, we would leave Tuesday for Pensacola, Fla., for the 16-team national tournament.””

Hawaii Pacific is ranked higher than the Tritons by the smallest of margins: No. 3 in the West region and No. 10 in the nation. The only two teams ranked higher than Hawaii Pacific are UC Davis, which is ranked No. 2 in the region, and Brigham Young Univeristy-Hawaii, which is No. 1 in the region and in the country.

As far as injuries go, the Tritons are beginning to beat the bug. With a little luck, they should be healthy in time to play in Hawaii.

“”Ashley [O’Neil] is now playing and healthy,”” LaPlante said. “”We’re still waiting for Lyndsey Tadlock’s arm to feel better. With [the] help of a cortisone shot, we’re hoping she can play Saturday.””

The Tritons will need to have everyone at full strength to make it to Florida, and LaPlante knows her team is up for a challenge as immense as the one that is currently before them.

“”Hawaii Pacific is a very strong team,”” LaPlante said. “”Everyone will have to play strong to beat them.””

Look for results from the Hawaii match in Monday’s issue of the Guardian.