Sweeping Cal State Fullerton 7-0 Sunday was elating for the Cal Poly women’s tennis team a day after falling 5-2 to UC Irvine.
Against the Titans, the Mustangs doubles teams won all three matches, followed by an overwhelming shutdown in singles square-offs, which were all decided in two sets.
In doubles, Shannon Brady and Amy Markhoff moved to the No. 1 position in place of Brittany Blalock and Steffi Wong.
“(Wong) was a little sick that day and (Blalock) has been nursing an injury,” Cal Poly head coach Hugh Bream said. “It gave us a chance to play some of the players we don’t always get to. Melissa Bradford came in and played really well for us in both singles and doubles. Markhoff also continued to play her strong singles. I think it was just a good day for the team, top to bottom.”
UC Irvine, ranked 36th in the country, served as the Mustangs’ first Big West Conference opponent of the season.
“The (UC) Irvine match was a very close match,” Bream said. “They edged us 9-8 to get the doubles point. In the singles I felt it might’ve taken us 15 minutes on some courts to get going.”
Cal Poly (3-5, 1-1), ranked 67th in the country, won the first and last of six singles matches. Blalock defeated Anteater Becky Bernhard (6-1, 4-6, 6-4) and Diane Filip topped Ali Borowicz (3-6, 6-0, 6-3).
“We competed hard out there,” Filip said. “It was a hot weekend, not that it should be a factor in the outcome, though.”
In doubles, the 22nd-ranked tandem of Wong and Blalock overpowered UC Irvine’s duo of Bernhard and Clare Fermin 8-4.
Brady and Markhoff fell to Inna Agababian and Jessica Broadfoot in the second match.
In the third, Filip and Maria Malec barely succumbed to Borowicz and Heidi Kaloi, 9-8.
“(UC) Irvine came back strong at No. 2 doubles,” Bream said. “It came down to No. 3 doubles and it was a really hard-fought, close match.”
Cal Poly takes a non-conference detour at No. 69 Loyola Marymount on Feb. 15. The Mustangs will then travel to Cal State Northridge to play on Feb. 16.
“We’ve been working hard every single day in practice and matches,” Filip said. “The only thing we can control is what we do, how we prepare.”
Bream voiced great respect for Loyola Marymount.
“Loyola has a strong tradition in tennis,” he said. “They’ve got a strong No. 1 player, good depth and solid doubles. I feel like our girls are working hard and are improving every time out.”