The No. 16 UCSD women’s tennis team earned a huge win against Villanova University, a nonconference Division I school, by a score of 5-4, improving its overall season record to 5-3.
Sophomore Ina Dan won her doubles match alongside senior captain Marsha Malinow, and in the No. 2 singles spot, Dan picked up an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory to lead UCSD to their 5-4 win over Villanova.
The team managed to take a 2-1 lead after some determined play in the doubles matches.
No. 3 doubles senior Allison Legakis and sophomore Yekaterina Milvidskaia managed to win their match with a close score of 9-7. However, No. 2 doubles junior Justine Ang Fonte and senior Christy Knudsen fell 4-8.
With the match tied at one-all, No. 1 doubles seniors Marsha Malinow, the senior captain, and Ina Dan were able to put the Tritons on top as they eked out a 9-8 victory following a tiebreaker.
The singles matches were equally tough and exciting. No. 2 Dan and No. 3 Fonte both had very easy matches, with Dan winning 6-1, 6-3, and Fonte completely dominating her opponent, 6-0, 6-0.
Fonte was thrilled with her individual victory, as well as the team’s performance.
“”I had a cream cheese,”” she said, referring to the win she had without giving up a set. “”We expected them to not be very strong and sort of paid for it in doubles. But the girls stepped it up a lot and pulled through and Tessa [Tran] closed it out for us.””
No. 5 singles sophomore Tran clinched the victory for the team, winning 6-4, 6-3.
While the team did win, there were still disappointments, as the other singles players fell in straight sets.
On the opposite side of the spectrum from Fonte was Malinow, who has been plagued by an abdominal strain and lost in the No. 1 spot, 3-6, 1-6.
Malinow’s match disappointed her, but she was still excited about the team’s victory.
“”My performance was less than what I expected, just because I could not serve at all,”” Malinow said. “”I was serving underhanded and the girl was ripping them. I was really impressed by everyone’s performance and I thought Ina and Justine were working their matches very well.””
The remaining singles losses were from No. 6 singles Legakis, who fell 5-7, 0-6, and No. 4 singles freshman Pooja Desai lost 1-6, 6-7.
Head coach Liz LaPlante was very satisfied with the result.
“”We had some tough doubles matches,”” she said. “”We played them two years ago, but they were much weaker. The girls they had this time were deep. It was a good match to get ready for the Sonoma State-UC Davis trip.””
The Tritons will be going up north to face conference foe Sonoma State, an opponent they already defeated 7-2 previously this season and a strong Division I team in UC Davis.
For Fonte, the match against UC Davis is personal.
“”I was actually offered a full ride by the coach at UC Davis but I decided to come to SD,”” she said. “”For me, it’s a test to prove that I am as good as the girls they have up there.””
Malinow seemed both anxious and excited for the trip.
“”We have a deep team so there isn’t too much pressure on me,”” she said. “”It mostly comes from my mental weakness and I know that if it wasn’t for [the injury], I would be a lot more consistent right now. I’ve never played against UC Davis’ No. 1 so I really don’t know what to expect.””