Fall Season Ends at UCI Invitational

WOMEN’S TENNIS — The UCSD women’s tennis team road-tripped to the UC Irvine Fall Invitational on Nov. 13 for its last competition of the fall season. The Tritons played well in one of fall’s toughest competitions, and saw a couple of players pick up respectable seventh-place finishes. The tournament featured teams from Loyola Marymount University, the University of Montana, Santa Clara University, UC Irvine and UC Riverside.

The Tritons’ lone victory came on the first day of the Invitational, as junior Roxanna Pourmirzaie defeated Riverside’s Ayana Simmons 6-2, 6-4. Pourmirzaie came out of last spring’s season with a strong 8-2 record in singles play, and held up her stellar reputation at the Irvine tournament.

One of the closest matches of the day was between UCSD senior Anita Athavale and Irvine junior Miranda Young. Young narrowly defeated Athavale 6-2, 7-6 in a marathon match. UCSD sophomore Katie Mulloy faced Riverside’s Angelique Corpuz in another grueling battle, but was ultimately defeated 6-4, 6-2. In the other singles matches on Friday, UCSD juniors Taskeen Bains, Cindy Dao and Valerie Tang faced heavy challenges from Irvine’s No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 singles competitors. Despite losing each of their respective matches, the Triton trio took a total of five games from their Irvine opponents.

In Friday’s doubles play, Bains and Athavale lost 8-2 to the Loyola Marymount duo of Jasmin Heckel and Elisaveta Pironkov. Similarly, Tang and Dao were edged out 8-6 by Riverside’s Corpuz and Taylor Raney. UCSD freshman pair Jacquelyn Davis and Melissa Breisacher — who made their collegiate debuts — lost 8-3 to Montana’s Constance Alexander and Kayla Morse.

On Saturday, sophomore Katie Mulloy fought back from a first-set loss to top Santa Clara’s Isabelle Hoy in three sets. Hoy won the first set 7-6 and took a 5-2 lead in the second set before Mulloy took command of the match. Mulloy won the second set 7-6 and finished off with a 6-3 third-set victory to finally seal the win — which took three hours and 30 minutes to land.

“I felt pretty good at the invitational,” sophomore Katie Mulloy said. “I had a tough match on Saturday. We need to continue to practice matches, and to make the right shot selection and the right returns for spring.”

Pourmirzaie kept up her dominant play, earning a second-straight victory at the invitational by defeating Irvine’s Ali Murphy in a close 7-5, 7-6 decision.

But the second day of the invitational was filled with a wide variety of performances. Athavale defeated Riverside senior Roxanna Plata in an excellent showing; Bains fell to Montana’s Rebecca Bran in a seesaw battle 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Dao was defeated by Loyola Marymount’s Elisaveta Pironkova 6-3, 6-1 and Valerie Tang lost to Loyola Marymount’s Bliss Nixon 6-1, 6-3. UCSD freshman Jacquelyn Davis, replacing a Riverside player who had withdrawn from the tournament, lost a close match against a Montana challenger 7-6, 6-4.

In the doubles matches on Saturday, the Tritons were not able to capture a single victory. Bains and Athavale lost to Montana’s Amanda Bran and Maddy Soule 8-4. Tang and Dao were also defeated by a Santa Clara duo 8-5, while Davis and Breisacher lost 8-3 to Montana to wrap up day two for UCSD.

On Sunday, the last day of the invitational, the Tritons concluded their 2009 Fall schedule with four victories.

Dao then defeated Montana’s Maddy Soule to finish in seventh place in the second most competitive singles bracket of the tournament. Similarly, Tang outlasted Riverside’s Taylor Raney 7-5, 6-2 to finish in seventh place in the third most competitive singles bracket of the Invitational.

Davis concluded her freshman debut with a pair of wins. In her singles match, Davis topped Santa Clara’s Hoy 6-3, 6-4 to earn her first collegiate victory. Later, she teamed up with fellow freshman Breisacher in the doubles competition to defeat the Loyola Marymount pair of Bliss Nixon and Maria Garcia-Planas Albert 8-4.

In Sunday’s other singles matches, Bains was defeated by Riverside’s Elena Cadet in the top singles bracket 6-7, 6-0, 10-5. Breisacher, who took the place of a withdrawn player from another team, lost to Montana’s Rebecca Bran 6-1, 6-1. Athavale was also defeated by Montana’s Heather Davidson 6-1, 6-7 and Mulloy was topped by Montana’s Kayla Morse 6-0, 6-2. Rounding out UCSD’s singles play at the invitational was Pourmirzaie’s 6-1, 6-2 loss to Irvine’s Ali Murphy.

Along with Davis and Breisacher’s doubles victory, Bains and Athavale lost 8-3 to a pair from Irvine, and Tang and Dao narrowly lost 8-6 to a Riverside duo.

“I think it was a great experience for us,” head coach Liz LaPlante said. “We came up against very strong Division-I competitors. I think we performed really well. The invitational gave us indication where to make changes. Our goal for spring is to win our conference. We would like to continue our streak.”

The UCSD women’s tennis team returns to action on Feb. 6 at Cal State Northridge, opening up their spring campaign.

Readers can contact Jessy Jahangir at [email protected].

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