The UC Santa Cruz women’s tennis team kicked off 2012 facing two challenging Division I teams at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (SLO). Their opponents were from University of San Francisco (USF) and SLO. The Slugs were swept in both matches, losing 7-0 in both.
Alex Scotten, No. 1 doubles and singles player, said playing USF and Cal Poly Slo was this season’s biggest test.
“Our first two matches were against D-I schools and are the hardest matches we will have throughout the season, and we are looking ready and confident,” she said.
In the dual match format, the teams played three doubles sets, with the best two out of three taking the doubles point. Afterward, each team played six singles matches with best two out of three sets taking a singles point.
Across the board, the Slugs were outplayed in singles, but the team’s talent showed in their doubles matches. The No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams for UCSC both saw close contests. UCSC’s top two singles players, sophomore Scotten and junior Laura Wade, teamed up to play USF’s No. 1 doubles team. The pair lost 8-6 in their doubles pro set.
In the No. 2 doubles match, featuring No. 3 singles player Courtney Lymburner and No. 4 singles player Sarah Malone, the team came up short to Cal Poly Slo, losing 8-6 in their doubles set.
Slugs head coach Erin Ness was proud of the way her team fought for the doubles point.
“We competed really well against USF, and were actually up in doubles on both courts one and two,” Ness said. “We were honestly only a couple points away from clinching the doubles point.”
Despite the losses, Ness remains optimistic about the rest of their season and their chances of reaching the West Regional Championships in May. In light of the team’s loss of eight players lost before the season began, Ness acknowledged her team’s ability to play through adversity.
“Overall it was a good weekend and the girls and I are very happy with where the team is at,” Ness said. “Our ultimate goal is to get to the NCAA regionals. We still have a lot of work to do to get ready for our Division III matches in March, but everyone felt good about this weekend as a whole, and that gives us confidence heading into the D-III competition.”
Sophomore player Sophie Lundeberg is excited with the team’s progress.
“We’re looking forward to the season,” Lundeberg said. “We’re getting more consistent and each one of us is improving individually. It’s been a lot of fun. We demonstrate great sportsmanship regardless of winning or losing, and teams respect that.”
Scotten was pleased with the passion her team brought to the court this weekend. She said that team could improve on putting everything out on the court, especially when it comes down to a few crucial points near the finish line.
“As a team I think we need to improve on giving that extra push during our matches,” she said. “This weekend we had a few close matches that could have resulted in wins if we had had that extra something towards the end.”
Scotten says this is as tough a test as they will likely see all year, preparing them in the best way.
“For the rest of the season we hope to beat some of our rivals, such as Chapman,” she said, “and this year I believe we have a good chance in doing so.”
Next up for the Slugs is a trip to Stockton, Calif. this weekend, where they will take on Cal State Stanislaus.