No. 72 UC Irvine Sweeps UCSD

Brendan Yu | New University

Brendan Yu | New University

Playing in their first match of 2015, No. 72 UCI women’s tennis triumped over UC San Diego 7-0, last Saturday afternoon at the Anteater Tennis Stadium.
Last season, the Anteaters logged a 17-7 record and a second-place finish in the Big West Tournament to finish 2014 at No. 71. The visiting Tritons, a NCAA Division II team, are currently ranked 30th in the nation after finishing the 2014 season at No. 28.
The duo of Vivien Dvali and Mazy Watrous were the first to strike for the Anteaters, picking up a 6-1 victory at the number three doubles position. Playing in their first doubles collegiate doubles match since their high school days, the twin tandem of Ali and Kat Facey reunited to clinch the doubles point for UC Irvine with a 6-3 victory over Britta Mosser and Kyra Scott at No. 1 doubles.
In singles action, Dvali was once again the first to finish, beating Ify Aniefuna in 6-0, 6-1 at No. 6 singles. Ali Facey followed up with a victory over Shannon Theisen, while Watrous clinched the match for the Anteaters with a 6-2, 6-2 sweep over Nava Nowamooz at No. 4 singles. Vancouver native Arisha Ladhani continued the trend of straight set victories with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Jasmine Hosseini at No. 2 singles.
At the number one singles position, junior Sarah Gong cruised to a 6-3 win in the first set against Kyra Scott, but struggled to close out the Triton’s number one in the second set. With Scott up 5-2 in the second, the match looked to be headed to a third set before Gong rallied to win five straight games to clinch the match.
Kat Facey was the lone Anteater to be pushed to a third set at No. 3 singles. After losing the first set 0-6, Britta Mosser came back to take the second set 6-3 and forced a decisive third.
“I felt really solid, I controlled the ball well, everything felt really good,” said Kat. “I came out of the gates from doubles playing really well. Second set, she picked it up, she started hitting really good shots and just smacking winners by me which I did not expect at all, so I have to give her some credit for sure.”
As mentally daunting as it may have been to have had the tables turned on her so suddenly, she managed to recollect herself by putting the last sets out of her mind and starting fresh. As the last ongoing match and with players from both teams watching, Kat pulled through with a 6-4 win in the third to complete the singles sweep for the Anteaters.
“I had to pretend it was 0-0, it was the first point of the match,” said Kat. “She did play well, she hit the ball really low, which is hard for me usually, so it took a lot of adjusting, especially in the third set, which was just firing shots back and forth. I was just trying to get one more ball in.”
Despite the minor setbacks, head coach Mike Edles was overall pleased with the caliber of his team’s performance, espcially considering it was the team’s first match of the season.
“I thought [Gong and Facey] did a really nice job finishing off the matches,” said Coach Edles, “maybe a lapse there in the middle, that you know, they’re not going to get away with against our Division I opponents. They’re both [veterans]. I’m confident that they will not have an issue with that. Frankly, that’s also just it being the first match, kind of [getting] back into [the swing of] things.”
With a new starting roster featuring Ladhani, Dvali and Watrous, the Anteaters look to continually improve throughout the season as the program’s newest additions become more experienced.
“I think for the first match, it was a solid showing. Expectations were [that we would] give a great effort. I thought there might be some because it’s the first match, especially [since] we have a young team. So I expected [that] may affect our level and it did a little bit. However, overall they did a really nice job,” Coach Edles said.
The Anteaters will travel to Los Angeles next weekend for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-off Classic, where they will square off against No. 64 Kansas State in the opening round.