The two-week break between matches for the Cal Poly women’s tennis team must have come at just the right time for the Mustangs, who swept UC Riverside 7-0 and San Jose State 6-1 Saturday. They host Pacific at Mustang Courts at 11 a.m. Sunday.
“We had a chance to work on our fitness and get back in the weight room on a regular basis, which is hard to do when you’re on the road for a month,” said Cal Poly head coach Hugh Bream. “It’s been an opportunity for fine-tuned practices and getting really fresh and sharp again.”
Against UC Riverside, the Mustangs’ 38th-ranked doubles tandem of sophomores Steffi Wong and Brittany Blalock defeated Erynne Oki and Angelique Corpuz 8-3.
“Blalock and Wong really played a dominant match,” Bream said. “They came out and really maintained their focus all the way through.”
Cal Poly took the doubles point after juniors Maria Malec and Shannon Brady defeated Donna McCullough and Roxanne Plata 8-6.
Sophomore Diane Filip and freshman Amy Markhoff followed with another 8-6 doubles win, over Yasaman Sakhakorn and Nadia Sakhakorn.
Wong’s 6-1, 6-2 loss to Ashley Tavita precluded the Mustangs (6-6, 2-2 Big West Conference) from a sweep of San Jose State. All other singles matches ended in two sets.
“UC Riverside was a conference match and they’re a strong, deep team,” said Mustangs assistant coach Paige Esparza. “(The win) shows us our potential in our conference, what we’re capable of doing.”
Of the San Jose State contest, Esparza added it was “another great opportunity to go out there a second match in one day and see how fit we are. We’re a resilient team that will keep competing no matter what’s thrown at us.”
The Mustangs have now won four of their past five outings.
“It’s been nice getting some good momentum going,” Bream said. “The players are improving and gaining confidence. We’re really starting to build momentum for a really fun and challenging week starting Sunday.”
Also encouraging for the Mustangs is that their next five matches are at home, including No. 36 Washington State on Tuesday and No. 24 Denver on March 16.
“The girls are always excited to play at home and I think it’s always good to have a homecourt advantage,” Esparza said. “It’s a really good opportunity for us to knock off some highly ranked teams on our own courts – opportunities you don’t get that often.”