Sports in Brief
Junior David Kim finished ninth—his fifth top 10 finish on the season—at 213 to lead the ‘Eaters to a seventh place overall tie with UC Santa Barbara at the Virginia Country Club held in Long Beach State.
Kim shot a 72 in the final round Tuesday, but saw his best performance Monday when he registered 68.
Junior Jonathan Young registered a 220 for 31st place. Young kicked off the first round shooting 70 and 76 in the final round.
Sophomore Chris Parkinson came in at 34th (221) and junior Ryan O’ Connor took 38th (222).
The ‘Eaters will head to Elk Grove Monday and Tuesday to compete in the Sacramento State Invitational.
UCI women’s tennis (1-9, 0-2) hit a tough stretch to open Big West play, dropping their first two conference matchups with a 5-2 loss to Cal State Fullerton (11-0, 2-0) Thursday before falling, 4-3, to Long Beach State (6-2, 3-1) Saturday.
Cal State Fullerton
The ‘Eaters were met with quite the challenge Thursday as they faced a undefeated Fullerton team that had extended their program record win streak to 10 with a 6-1 victory over Eastern Michigan prior to stepping onto Anteater Tennis Stadium.
UCI started the day off right with a No. 3 doubles victory with senior Cassidy Branstine and freshman Stephanie Nguyen taking down sophomore Masako Makiba and junior Danielle Pham, 6-1.
Fullerton, however, tied up the doubles competition with sophomores Sarah Nuno and Karla Portalatin snagging their matchup at No.2 doubles against UCI’s junior tandem of Hali Dickson and Vivien Dvali, 6-4.
With the doubles point on the line on court one, freshman Constance Branstine and sophomore Stephanie Hazell fought through a tightly-knit contest against seniors Camille De Leon and Alexis Valenzuela, but the Fullerton duo would emerge a top, 7-6 (13-11).
With their win over UCI in the doubles competition, Fullerton has yet to drop a doubles point in this year.
In the singles field, Fullerton wiped out the ‘Eaters, winning all but one of their matches.
On the second court, Dvali was the ‘Eaters lone victor with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 win over De Leon.
Long Beach State
Two days later, UCI was just edged out by Long Beach State, 4-3.
After dropping an early doubles match, UCI powered back with two victories to snag the doubles point. At No.1, Constance and Hazell defeated seniors Julie Gerard and Maeva Razakasoa, 6-3.
The ‘Eaters duo of Dickson and Dvali gave UCI the doubles point as they toppled senior Laura Eales and junior Lena Pacholski, 7-6 (8-6).
Long Beach kicked off singles play by picking up three straight-set victories at Nos. 4, 5, and 2.
The following three matches proved to be slug outs that went into three sets. When Long Beach’s senior Laura Eales defeated UCI’s junior Ashlynn Hall (0-6, 7-5, 6-2) at No.6, Long Beach took the collective victory.
However, Constance continued to trudge away at the No.1 spot against Razakasoa. After dropping her first set, Constance powered back with a 6-2 win in the second to even the match and in the third, the Orange native came back from a 4-0 deficit to ring home a 6-4 set and match victory.
Freshman Stephanie Nguyen, who also had her match go to three sets, emerged victories after dropping the first set, 4-6, and bouncing back like Constance with 6-4 and 6-2 wins in the second and third.
Showing some signs of good momentum, UCI will host Youngstown State on March 9th at 9:30am.
After three days (March 3-5) of competition at the Pac Coast Doubles Tournament at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, sophomore Mason Hansen and assistant coach Tyler Pham defeated Toledo’s Stjepan Sisko and Thawin Suksathaporn, 7-5, 6-4, in the semifinals of the consolation championship Sunday.
However, the UCI tandem fell in the championship match to UC Davis’ Adam Levie and Toki Sherbakov, 6-3, 6-1.
Track and Field
Men and women’s track and field were well represented at the All-UC Challenge at Triton Track and Field Saturday.
It was a career day for sophomore Barbara Coward who won the discus event with a new school program and All-UC Challenge record at 177-10. The mark also qualifies Coward for the NCAA West Preliminary round. Prior to Saturday, Coward’s best mark in the event was registered at 170-11.
The Atwater native also finished with a personal best in the hammer throw at 176-06—enough to place her third in school history.
Senior Lloyd Sicard recorded a lifetime-best 10.65 in the 100-meter dash for second place. He is now tie for 10th in school history in the respective event.
Sicard joined fellow seniors Antwon Parker and Brandon Howard as well as junior Michael Hamill to win the 4×100 relay in 41.61 seconds.
Women’s Water Polo
No. 6 UCI traveled to Ann Arbor to compete in the Michigan Wolverine Invitational this past weekend and prevailed in all four matches they played. The ‘Eaters won a pair of matches on both Saturday and Sunday to improve to 13-6 on the year.
Senior and reigning Big West Player of the Week Kelsey Thornton set a career high in goals scored with five in the ‘Eaters’ first match of the weekend, boosting UCI to an 11-7 win over No. 18 Hartwick.
Junior Mary Brooks pitched in two goals, and four other ‘Eaters were able to contribute a goal to help the team come back from a 4-2 deficit at the end of the first quarter to take a 7-6 lead into the half.
Hartwick would nip at the ‘Eaters heels to make it 8-7 before three straight goals put UCI way out in front for the 11-7 final.
The ‘Eaters exploded for 10 goals in the second half of their second game on Saturday, blowing by Bucknell for a 16-4 victory.
UCI held a modest 6-3 lead at halftime but scored five goals each in the third and fourth periods while limiting their opponent to one total score.
Senior McKenna Mitchell paced the team with four goals with Thornton right behind her with three. Senior Cambria Shockley, and sophomores Cara Borkovec and Raegan Castillo each converted a pair of goals while three other ‘Eaters added one.
UCI ran into host No. 7 Michigan in the early game on Sunday and overcame an 8-4 lead to charge back and take an 11-10 win after senior Gabby Pierandozzi broke the tie with just over a minute left to play.
Mitchell and Thornton again contributed four and three goals respectively, including three straight from Mitchell in the third to bring UCI within one heading into the fourth.
The perfect weekend was complete following a hard-fought 8-6 triumph over No. 9 Pacific in the final game on Sunday, thanks to sophomore Jenna Phreaner stopping a penalty shot with under a minute remaining as Pacific threatened to tie.
Mitchell and junior Julie Swieca led the ‘Eater offense with two goals apiece, while Thornton, Pierandozzi, Borkovec and Brooks each tallied one.
UCI returns home for a match next Friday as they prepare to host Hawai’i.