The University of Oregon Ducks (No. 36) drowned the Anteaters (No. 68) in a shallow pool of water. The final score, 4-3, reflected the need for small adjustments on the Anteater side.
After UC Irvine’s loss against Pepperdine two weeks ago, Head coach Mike Edles was pleased with the Anteater effort. He remains optimistic, especially about the UCI singles performance (3-3), citing the need for the Anteaters to take ‘baby steps’ towards a stronger game.
‘Our singles is playing much better than earlier in the year,’ Edles said. ‘And our doubles prior to these last few matches has been very strong, so now if we just … put it all together, we’re going to be in great shape.’
Although doubles team number three, with a record of 6-2, played very well, doubles one and two suffered, according to Edles, from ‘indecision’ and ‘tentative play.’
‘I don’t think she really overpowered me,’ said sophomore Jessica Broadfoot said. ‘I just think I was missing some shots. I had to bring my shots in, be a little more consistent.’
Sophomore Becky Bernhard had ice wrapped onto her right shoulder because of a hurt rotator cuff. The disappointment in her voice was painful.
‘I had a tough opponent,’ Bernhard stated. ‘She’s ranked pretty high, and I came out really fighting but it wasn’t enough today.’
Inna Agababian incorporated a clever strategy in her game that pushed her opponent’s less-aggressive forehand. This, in contrast to Inna’s own balanced fore-hand\back-hand play.
‘I was serving a lot to her forehand and she’d give me a short ball and I’d be able to set up the point,’ she said.
‘It definitely helped me to set up the point.’
Similarly, sophomore Ashley Siddall utilized a consistent game in order to overpower her opponent, Ana Cecilia Olivos. Siddall was cool and energetic while Olivos was exhausted and gasping, but Siddall maintained that this was only a guise to fool Olivos.
‘I tried to speed up the match,’ she said, ‘because it looked like she was kind of struggling … [and] I tried to look like I was fresh on every point (because) that would put her off.’
Siddall played a tight game throughout winning the first set easily. Olivos, at her coach’s insistence, was playing far too manically.
‘Towards the end of the second set she cut down her unforced errors, and that was when we had the really … long rallies,’ she stated. Although Olivos disciplined herself to bring the second set 6-6 against the prowess of Siddall, her discipline broke down as, screaming triumphantly, she nailed a quick, running shot into Siddall’s court. It took three exchanges before an overspent Olivos could return only weak shots and, ultimately, a point for the Anteaters.
‘If we can get confident using tactics like that, it’s going to pay off later,’ Edles said.
The Anteaters will have to find their confidence quickly as they play three matches in three days during a Northern California road trip this weekend.