UCSD splits a pair of matches over weekend

    This year’s UCSD women’s tennis team knew last season would be a tough act to follow. The team finished its 2002 season with an 18-2 record (8-0 against California Collegiate Athletic Association teams and 23-4 including postseason play), won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II West Regionals and finished fifth at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

    Jake Mumm
    Guardian

    However, the Tritons stepped up by winning their first four games of the season before facing rival Cal Poly Pomona on Feb. 20. Unfortunately, a tough loss (7-2) against the No. 14-ranked Broncos brought an end to a 13-game winning streak in the CCAA for UCSD.

    Two days later on Feb. 22, UCSD was right back in the driver’s seat and proved its worth by showing no weakness against CCAA rival Grand Canyon University, winning the game 8-1.

    UCSD had not lost a game in the CCAA since it entered the NCAA Division II in 2001, in which the Tritons ended the season 7-1. Against Cal Poly, Julie Westerman and Jenna Ishii teamed up at No. 1 doubles and defeated Anne Claire Ortiz-Luis and Michelle Hammond 8-5. Michelle Rabinovich and Dehlia Feliz defeated Tritons Jasmin Dao and Tara Siddiqui 8-3 at No. 2, and in No. 3 doubles, Kristina Jansen and Allison Ishii were defeated by Sara Jex and Katrina Holmberg 8-1.

    In the singles matches, UCSD took just one of the six from the Broncos. No. 1 Dao was defeated by Ortiz-Luis 6-3, 6-1; No. 2 Westerman by Feliz 6-3, 6-4; No. 3 Jansen by Hammond 6-0, 6-4; and No. 5 Hilker by Holmberg 7-6 (7-3), 6-2. Siddiqui won the first set against Rabinovich (2-6), but lost the two remaining (6-0, 6-2) at No. 4. Only Roberts at No. 6 won her singles match (6-2, 7-6) against Cal Poly challenger Jex. Cal Poly won the match 7-2.

    “”I think the freshmen learned a lot about the importance of confidence and intensity,”” said Triton head coach Liz LaPlante of the loss to Cal Poly. “”Hopefully, it will help us in the rest of the season.””

    With a match against Grand Canyon University only two days away, important changes were made.

    “”[Cal Poly] took control and we got intimidated in doubles play,”” said UCSD assistant coach Timmer Willing. “”We wanted leadership on each court, but now we’re going to go with the best.””

    LaPlante echoed Willing’s attitude.

    “”We’re just trying to find the right balance between all three teams,”” she said.

    The result was three new doubles teams all of which turned out to be winning combinations. Westerman and Dao at No. 1 doubles defeated GCU’s Nikita Bhardwaj and Robyn Jaeger 8-3. At No. 2, Siddiqui and Jansen won their match against Shawna Young and Sarah Mitchell 8-1. Allison Ishii and Jenna Ishii dominated at No. 3, defeating Denia Combs and Liza Wilbirt 8-0.

    In the singles matches, No. 2 Westerman defeated Jaeger (4-6, 7-5, 6-1), No. 3 Jansen defeated Mitchell (6-2, 6-3), No. 4 Siddiqui defeated Young (6-0, 6-2), No. 5 Hilker defeated Combs (6-0, 6-0) and Roberts defeated Wilbirt (6-0, 6-1). Playing No. 1 singles, Dao was defeated by Bhardwaj after three hours of play. Bhardwaj and Dao each won a set before Bhardwaj won the third, with a final score of 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5).

    “”[On Feb. 22, all] the girls came out with a new attitude — they didn’t play scared and played with a lot of confidence. The two toughest matches were Julie at No. 2 singles, who really played well to win in three sets, and Jasmin,”” LaPlante said. “”[Even though] she ended up losing 7-6 in the third set, it was great to see such great tennis from her.””

    Nonetheless, eighth-ranked UCSD defeated GCU 8-1. UCSD is now 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference. The Tritons will play thier next match at home against Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 27.

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