Doubles Struggles Cap Fall Season

    The UCSD women’s tennis team finished its fall season on
    Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 at the UC Irvine Invitational, where head coach Liz
    LaPlante sent nine of her best players to compete in the singles and doubles
    tournaments.

    Senior Justine Ang Fonte was one of many Tritons who had a hard time at the UC Irvine Invitational, losing her singles match and falling 8-0 in her doubles match with freshman Dalya Perlman. (SANH LUONG/Guardian file)

    The four-time California Collegiate Athletic Association
    conference champions had high expectations going into the invitational, but had
    a rude awakening after they struggled in doubles play and went a combined 0-7
    in the two-day tournament.

    The troubles in doubles play began on day one, when the
    four-time CCAA Conference Champion Tritons went 0-3, with every loss coming
    against a squad from Northern
    Arizona University
    .
    Senior Justine Ang Fonte and freshman Dalya Perlman lost to the Northern Arizona University
    tandem of Kim Van Ginkle and Leslie Vial 5-8, while UCSD freshmen Taskeen Bains
    and Kimmie Dao lost 3-8 to Edit Suhajda and Orsi Golovics. The day’s final loss
    came from the Triton doubles team of freshman Valerie Tang and senior Molly
    Sullens, who also lost 8-3 to Amiee Oki and Yumi Hasegawa.

    The problems continued into the next day where UCSD went
    0-4, completing a winless tournament in doubles. Dao and Bains were defeated
    3-8 by the UC Irvine doubles team of Heidi Kaloi and Brooke Bartlett, while
    junior Tessa Tran and sophomore Pooja Desai lost their only doubles match of
    the weekend, a lopsided 1-8 defeat to the UC Riverside duo of Angelique Corpuz
    and Erynne Oki. Fonte and Perlman had the most discouraging result of the day,
    losing 8-0 to UC Riverside’s Roxanne Plata and Donna McCullough. The weekend’s
    final doubles result was an 8-5 loss by Tang and Sullens at the hands of UC
    Riverside sisters Yassaman and Nadia Sakhakorn.

    If the uninspiring doubles play at Anteater Invitational is
    any indication of the Tritons’ ability, they may struggle in the spring season.

    However, although LaPlante wasn’t too worried about her
    team’s disappointing showing, she knows that the squad has a lot to work on.

    “It’s still early,” she said. “We are working toward
    improving so that we can hit our stride when the team season begins in
    February.”

    In singles competition, UCSD was able to turn its luck
    around, going 4-3 on the first day of action. Perlman was the first to redeem
    herself, winning a 7-6, 6-2 decision over Yassaman Sakhakorn of UC Riverside.
    Joining her in the win column were Dao, a 6-0, 6-3 winner over UC Riverside’s
    Corpuz, Fonte, who won 6-4, 6-1 over Ali Welliver of UC Irvine, and Tang, who
    beat Alexandra Khoury of UC Riverside 6-2, 7-6. Other singles action from Nov.
    10 saw Tran lose 6-4, 6-4 to Hasegawa of Northern Arizona University, and Bains
    go down 6-4, 6-2 to Regan Newman, also of Northern Arizona University.

    If the Tritons hope to have any success this season, they
    will certainly look to depend on Desai. She has been an asset to the team in
    the past, but is working to recover from a foot injury that has plagued her for
    the last month.

    “Pooja has been steadily improving her game since the
    injury,” LaPlante said. “We expect her to be one of the most important players
    on our team this season.”

    Although Desai stumbled early and lost her first singles
    match of the tournament, 6-1, 6-2 to Nadia Sakhakorn of UC Riverside, she
    showed tremendous heart in winning her next match, a 6-7, 7-5, 7-5 marathon
    against Oki.

    The rest of the team didn’t have as much luck on Nov. 11 as
    Bains was the only other Triton to win her match. Her victory was decisive, a
    6-2, 6-1 beatdown of Shawnell Russell of Loyola Marymount University. Alexsa
    Costa of New Mexico State University defeated Dao 6-2, 6-2, while her teammate
    Bianca Discordia beat Tang 6-4, 7-5. Yumi Hasegawa and Stacey Pinchbeck of
    Northern Arizona University took out Fonte and Perlman, respectively, with
    Hasegawa winning a close battle, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1. Meanwhile, Pinchbeck routed
    Perlman, 6-1, 6-2. The final two results of the tournament were a 7-5, 6-3 loss
    by Sullens to Yassaman Sakhakorn of UC Riverside, and a 6-4, 6-3 win by UC
    Riverside’s Plata over Tran.

    LaPlante and the Tritons can now set their sights on the
    team’s season, and a bid for a fifth straight conference title. The quest to
    make the NCAA tournament begins on Feb. 2 when UCSD travels to battle Azusa Pacific
    University in Azusa, Calif.
    Conference play begins a week later when the Tritons host Cal State Bernardino.

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