Lucky Number 7

No. 15 UCSD needed a championship-caliber performance against No. 19 Cal State Stanislaus if the Tritons were to make it to seven straight regular-season titles. The Tritons and Warriors, tied atop league standings with eight wins and one loss, faced off on April 17 at the Northpoint Tennis Courts with the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship on the line.

In a season in which the Tritons lost their 53-match conference winning streak at Cal Poly Pomona, they wouldn’t be denied their seventh straight title.

After suffering an unfortunate 5-4 road loss to Point Loma Nazarene University on April 15, UCSD rebounded to defeat Cal State Stanislaus 6-3, and claimed top conference honors.

After three doubles matches at Point Loma last Thursday, the Tritons found themselves behind 2-1, and only managed to break even in singles with three wins and three losses.

However, despite the loss to Point Loma, head coach Liz Laplante said the lady Tritons were confident going into the championship-deciding game against Cal State Stanislaus.

“The loss to Point Loma wasn’t that significant,” LaPlante said. “We didn’t have all our girls playing on Thursday. We knew we could win if everyone was healthy, came together and played well. And that is exactly what we did.”

UCSD got off to a running start, winning all three doubles matches to take a commanding early lead. No. 1 singles team Taskeen Bains and Natalie Varnay heated things up with an early 8-3 win. They were backed up by the No. 2 team of Anita Anthavale and Jacquelyn Davis, who won 8-5, while No. 3 doubles team Cindy Dao and junior Valerie Tang finished with an 8-5 victory.

Erik Jepsen/Guardian


Though they swept the doubles matches, the Tritons only managed to win half of the singles matches.

Sophomore Samantha Yeung said she was confident, but also nervous, in the buildup.

“After the doubles set, I felt a lot better,” Yeung said. “[LaPlante] said that we shouldn’t feel pressure — that we should just go out there, try hard and have fun.”

Yeung won her match 6-2 and 6-4, and Anthavale won her match 6-1 and 6-0. After junior Natalie Varney claimed the final singles match 6-4, 6-1, the Tritons had clinched their seventh straight CCAA victory with a score of 6-3.

The last time the two teams met, on Feb. 20, UCSD escaped with a narrow 5-4 victory.

“They are a really tough team,” LaPlante said. “I had a good feeling after Anita won. [Stanislaus] is really good. We had to play to win and not be afraid to lose. We just had fun with it.”

Even though it’s the team’s seventh straight title, LaPlante said it’s just as thrilling as the last six.

“It is just really exciting,” LaPlante said. “This is the second and third title for some of these girls, and everyone is developing really well. This win gave us a strong seed now as we continue on to regionals, with a good chance to go onto nationals.”

The Tritons will continue their regular season when they face non-conference opponent Azusa Pacific University on Wednesday, April 21.

Readers can contact Wesley Cox at [email protected].