Tritons Reach 62 Straight CCAA Wins

Erik Jepsen/Guardian

WOMEN’S TENNIS — The UCSD women’s tennis team stayed undefeated against conference opposition in its first road trip of the season from Feb. 19 to Feb. 21 — bringing its record to 62 straight wins in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and establishing itself as the pre-eminent Division-II title contender.

The No. 19 nationally ranked Tritons defeated CCAA foes No. 44 Sonoma State and No. 17 Cal State Stanislaus before losing to conference opponent UC Davis. The matches brought UCSD to 3-1 on the season and 3-0 in the CCAA.

Going into the weekend, head coach Liz LaPlante said she was unsure of how well the team would do, especially after matches were canceled due to rain earlier in the season.

“It was a little scary, but the lineup for these matches provided the level of competition we needed,” LaPlante said. “It builds up our confidence to play against other teams in CCAA such as Cal State LA and Cal Poly Pomona.”

UCSD’s first stop was at Rohnert Park against Sonoma State on Feb. 19, where it won decisively 8-1. The Tritons won three of three doubles matches and lost only one of six singles matches.

Junior Taskeen Bains, who earned Penn/CCAA Player of the Week honors on Feb. 8, took control in the first singles match, winning 6-1 and 6-0. Sophomore Katie Mulloy also won 6-1, 6-1 in straight sets.

After dismantling Sonoma, the Tritons traveled to Turlock on Feb. 20 and succeeded in upsetting Stanilaus.

The match was a true show of the team’s ability to come from behind. Down 2-4 in the tie after losing two of three doubles matches, the Tritons aggressively struck back, winning the last three singles matches — with Juniors Cindy Dao and Valerie Tang and sophomore Katie Milloy leading the rally.

Dao and Tang both rebounded to win their singles matches after losing in doubles play earlier in the day.

“We didn’t have a good start in doubles, but our coach just motivated us to try harder since we are better in singles,” Tang said. “We both had the desire to win, and since we hadn’t lost in so long, we wanted to keep that record going.”

Mulloy’s dramatic triumph at No. 5 singles earned the Tritons the victory in a tense three-set match. With the matchup evened at four wins apiece, Mulloy persevered for a third-set victory 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

The wins to Sonoma and Stanislaus continued the impressive Triton conference winning streak from seasons past, bringing UCSD to 62 straight wins in the CCAA.

“We are focused on getting wins and beating teams,” LaPlante said. “We’re matching the girls up with stronger teams to beat.”

The Tritons’ last stop was Davis, where they played an out-of-conference matchup against the Division-I Aggies. Despite their best efforts, the Tritons lost 0-9.

“This was a wakeup call for us,” Tang said. “We know we are capable of more, and we know what we need to get done.”

After the loss to Davis, LaPlante said the Tritons are ready to get ahead on the court in their next two matches against Fresno Pacific University, currently ranked No. 2 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. UCSD will host the Feb. 26 match.

“We know what we need to work on, [and] have identified strengths and weaknesses to have more productive practices,” LaPlante said.

Readers can contact Yvonne Chow at [email protected].

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