UCI Keeping Pace
UCI 5, Cal Poly 2
Women’s tennis cooled off Cal Poly in the scorching heat in a 5-2 victory on March 4. UC Irvine is off to a solid start in the Big West Conference with a 2-0 record and 7-4 overall.
The Anteaters quickly secured the doubles point with two easy victories from their No. 1 and No. 2 slots. Freshmen duo Kat and Ali Facey pulled off a tough victory from the No. 3 spot, winning a 7-5 tiebreaker to help UCI sweep the doubles matches.
Irvine clinched the match after winning four straight singles matches. Junior Kristina Smith controlled her match from the No. 1 slot quite well, winning in two sets (6-3, 6-0) followed by senior Courtney Byron, who earned her point after winning 6-4 and 6-2. Junior Stephanie Hammel shook off the loss Saturday and dominated her match, cruising in two sets (6-4, 6-2). Ali Facey won the last point for UCI after taking her match in two sets (6-1, 6-4)
UCI 4, UCSB 3
UC Irvine came away with a close one on Saturday afternoon as they barely defeated UC Santa Barbara at home 4-3. The win gives UCSB their first loss in the Big West conference this season. On the other hand, UCI earned their first win in the Big West as they open up their conference run with a 1-0 record and stand 6-4 overall.
The Anteaters made easy work with their doubles match ups as Seniors Courtney Byron and Hannah Holladay won their No. 1 slot match 8-1 followed by the twin freshmen duo Kat and Ali Facey who took the No. 3 doubles match with an 8-4 victory.
UCI built from their strong start with two easy victories from junior Kristina Smith and Byron, both of whom won their matches in two sets. However, the Gauchos came back to even up the score. Kat Facey struggled in her slot as she lost 6-1 and 6-3. Junior Stephanie Hammel played with fine form and controlled the rallies but was unlucky as her shots went out of the line or to the net. Although she had a good chance of clinching the game, she lost both her sets 6-4.
“Stephanie Hammel is a great player. This is her third match back after her two-year absence,” head coach Mike Edles said. “I’m happy with how she’s progressing and she’s going to get better and better.”
UCSB tied the game after Ali Facey lost her match, leaving the game on the line on the No. 3 slots. Sophomore Franziska Goettsching battled through an arduous two-set victory over Kierstan Meehan. After winning a close 7-5 first set, Goettsching held onto a steady 4-1 lead. However, Meehan came back and Goettsching started to lose control of the set as Meehan battled back to tie the match. However, Goettsching kept playing aggressively and pressed on to a 7-6 win after winning her tiebreaker 7-4.
“Even though she was coming back, I still knew I could win it,” Goettsching said. “I was backing up a little bit, not going for my backhand which is why she came back, but I just had to keep playing aggressive.”