Pressure situations seem to bring out the best in the UC Irvine women’s tennis team.
With Wednesday’s match against Saint Mary’s tied at three points apiece, the Anteaters received a clutch performance from sophomore Clare Fermin to win the game 4-3.
The next day, not much changed as Fermin again clinched the win, this time a 4-3 victory over Loyola Marymount University.
On Wednesday, Fermin defeated her opponent in a grueling three set match (6-2, 1-6, 6-4) after Saint Mary’s had tied the game at three.
Thursday’s game against Loyola proved to be a little more difficult for Fermin as she dropped the first set but bounced back to win the final two sets (3-6, 6-3, 6-2).
The wins pushed the Anteaters’ record to 18-3 overall. The team also holds a 5-0 record in the Big West Standings, good for first place in the conference.
‘I think we have a lot more confidence and poise under pressure,’ said UCI Head Coach Mike Edles. ‘We have won 10 of the last 11 matches and they have been really close.’
With so many key performances during the team’s incredible season, Edles specifically highlighted the leadership of senior captain Jayme Hu.
Hu, one of only two seniors on the team, has posted the best overall doubles record on the team. After Thursday’s win, Hu has totaled 15 doubles wins this season.
The Anteaters will return to conference game next week when it takes on Cal State Northridge and UC Riverside on the road.
UCI can clinch the Big West Title with wins over both teams, as it currently holds a one-game lead over Northridge and Long Beach State in the conference standings.
‘We are looking forward to the Northridge match,’ Edles said. ‘They are 4-1 and have won their last two games against tough opponents. That is going to be a tough game