The UC Irvine Women’s Tennis team finished their season with a bang, recording a second place finish at the Big West Championships in Palm Springs, Calif.
The Anteaters were victorious against UC Riverside in the quarterfinals and against Pacific
in the semifinals but fell to
Long Beach State in the finals
of the tournament by a score of 4-2.
UCI finished with a final record of 15-8 during the 2003-04 season.
According to junior Anna Bentzer, UCI was happy to end on such a strong note.
‘In the very beginning of the tournament, I wasn’t very confident at all,’ Bentzer said. ‘I thought we were going to
beat Riverside but wasn’t too
sure how we would do against Pacific.’
The Anteaters added the finish to a long list of accomplishments this season. Among the
season highlights were defeating 34th-ranked San Diego State on Feb. 28 and the recent naming of Bentzer as Big West Player of the Year.
Commenting on the news of being named Player of the Year, Bentzer said, ‘It feels really, really nice. I couldn’t ask for anything else.’
Bentzer was the second Anteater to win the honor since UCI’s inception to the Big West Conference. Stephanie Rhoner also won the award in 1985.
Bentzer is currently ranked 121st nationally as a singles player and teamed with senior Tiffany Chang for a current rank of 59th nationally in doubles.
According to Head Coach Mike Edles, the successful season for the Anteaters was rooted in the team’s leadership.
‘Our seniors did a phenomenal job,’ Edles said. ‘Christie
Posner won all of her Big
West Championship matches and has a history of performing well
in our season-ending
tournament. She came through for us again.’
Bentzer and Chang were named All-Big West first team in singles and Bentzer was named All-Big West second-team in doubles with freshman Jayme Hu.
Chang was named All-Big West second-team in doubles with junior Hui Leow. Bentzer
and Chang were named All-Big West honorable mention in doubles.
Referring to the Anteaters’ source of motivation throughout the season, Edles added, ‘Posner and Chang are co-captains. They did a phenomenal job of rallying our team together and keeping our team chemistry and spirit at an all-time high and that reflected in our performance.’
Despite the positives floating around the women’s tennis camp, Posner was still disappointed about losing the final match of the tournament.
‘Unfortunately it couldn’t go our way two days in a row,’ Posner said. ‘I think the whole tournament gave us an example for a new standard to set for ourselves.’
Edles seconded that by saying, ‘We could practically taste the championship. It was that close.’
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