The Cal Poly women’s tennis team fell 5-2 to USF in a non-conference dual match at Mustang Courts on Saturday before picking up its first win of the year on Sunday against UC Santa Cruz.
[follow id = “CPMustangSports”]
The Cal Poly women’s tennis team won its first dual match of the year with a 7-0 sweep of UC Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoon.
The Mustangs begin Big West play when they face Cal State Northridge on Feb. 1
The Cal Poly women’s tennis team fell to University of San Francisco 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at Mustang Courts. For Cal Poly’s (0-1) first dual match of the season, the team had to adjust to the newly revised Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) dual match format rules.
The ITA put in place new rules at the beginning of the month for all NCAA Division I non-conference women’s tennis matches, in effect until the 2014 ITA Women’s Team Indoor Championship on Feb. 10.
The teams no longer have the chance to practice against their opponent before the match. Pregame warmups were one of the most valuable opportunities for the teams.
“We’ve had to extend our warm-ups,” head coach Damon Coupe said. “What other sport are you warming up longer than the match is actually being played? We just had to take more time in our warm ups, make sure we had enough points being played before we walked onto the courts.”
The lack of practice against USF (3-0) was visible as the Mustangs fell in the third set of the now-shorter double matches.
“It’s hard, especially in doubles,” Coupe said. “Doubles are so fast, and it’s a shorter match now, too. It’s only to six (points), not eight, now.”
On the first court, Cal Poly seniors Ane McPike and Jennifer Cornea doubled up. The seniors took an early lead and secured a 6-2 win over the Dons. On the second court, freshman Emily Gibbens and junior Hannah Stone lost 6-4 to USF.
“Obviously, today didn’t go our way,” Gibbens said. “But everyone had tough matches, and it easily could have.”
In the third tie-breaking match of doubles play, freshman Sayaka Tsugai and junior Mika Padmanabhan battled back and forth against their opponents. The Mustangs finally fell 7-6 to give the Dons the first point of the day.
Following the doubles, Cal Poly lost four of six singles matches. Cal Poly had Gibbens and Kathryn Webb win on the second and fifth courts, with scores of 6-2, 6-3 and 6-3, 6-3, respectively.
USF captured wins on the first, third, fourth and sixth courts to secure the match.
Despite the loss, the Mustangs held their ground and had a hold on the lead in most of the sets.
“We are proud of the effort that we gave,” Coupe said. “We had opportunities in every match. There was a point where we had three matches to go, where we were even, if not winning at one point.”
Coming into the match, USF was one of the best teams Cal Poly has faced all year, according to Coupe.
“They are a very good team, loaded at the top and deep through the bottom,” Coupe said. “We knew it was going to be a tough test. We have a team full of young players, and we wanted to see how they were going to handle it.”
One of five freshmen on the team, Gibbens agreed the younger team significantly different from last year’s senior-laden squad.
“We have a lot of new players,” Gibbens said. “Our last season didn’t go too well, so I think it’s refreshing for new people to be in here. Everyone is really optimistic.”
Now a match into the season, the team knows how they need to prepare for other teams with the new set of rules, Coupe said.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Coupe said. “I’m just proud of how we competed out on the court for our first match.”