International athletes are part of LBSU’s success

A recent trend among some of the successful sports teams at Long Beach State is the recruitment of international athletes. They travel thousands of miles to devote multiple years of work to a program, while putting trust into a coaching staff they’ve never met in person. The presence of foreign-born players has become impactful for many 49er teams this academic year. Long Beach has teams on both sides of the spectrum, from the California-centered style of recruiting exhibited by baseball to the women’s tennis team being comprised of athletes born outside of the U.S. A team’s need for talent from specific types of student-athletes has played a role in several Long Beach State programs going international to fill those requirements for certain sports. While some teams have a mixed bag of athletes from home and around the world, the women’s tennis team is known for a tendency to travel abroad for its talent. All seven of the team’s players this season were scouted internationally, hailing from countries such as Spain, India, France and Brazil. Head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said although her team is foreign-born, this was not intentional on her part, or the athletics program. “As a coach, my philosophy

Long Beach State tennis falls against Loyola Marymount

Long Beach State women’s tennis was upset 6-1 by Loyola Marymount in a match full of controversy. Multiple decisions by the umpires were questioned by both coaches, creating a tense atmosphere at the Rhodes Tennis Center. “I think there were some interesting antics going on with the other team today,” Long Beach head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “I’ve watched our girls play all season and we don't make bad line calls, if we did we would address it. It was an interesting day of tennis.” Loyola Marymount head coach Agustin Moreno felt his team deserved the win despite the small mishaps with the umpires. “It's part of the game,” Moreno said. “I just think there should be more umpires here. There was no problem after that. I think we are in shape and that is why we won today.” LBSU only has one win in four home matches this season, giving the team another disappointing loss at the Rhodes Tennis Center.   “It is a little disappointing,” Hilt-Costello said. “We missed a few game plans and missed our opportunities. We hope to jump over the hump in the next couple of weeks. It has been a bumpy start this season

20 years of Jenny Hilt-Costello at LBSU

Long Beach State women’s tennis head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello went through the most challenging period of her life during the 2004 season. She faced the struggle of chemotherapy fatigue and played the most trying set of her career when she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Although she went through extensive surgery, the most successful coach in LBSU women’s tennis history missed only two days of practice. Her team went on to take the No. 4 seed in the Big West Tournament and became champions that season. “That team just decided to take on responsibilities by themselves,” Hilt-Costello said. “ That was the most rewarding season. When I was down and out, the team stepped up and won themselves a Big West title.” Hilt-Costello, 45, arrived at Long Beach as assistant coach in 1995 and only two seasons later, was promoted to head coach. She’s now in her 21st season, and has been enjoying her 14 years living cancer-free. “There are always ups and downs,” Hilt-Costello said. “Every year is different, I would say it has been fun and it has been a privilege. I enjoy what I do, I feel lucky that I get to work on a college campus

LBSU women’s tennis bested by Big West rival

The “Come on Beach” screams by fans and teammates at the Rhodes Tennis Center were not enough for Long Beach State women's tennis (2-2, 1-1 Big West) on Saturday. Despite grinding until the final sets, the 49ers lost 5-2 against their Big West Conference rivals, the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (2-1, 1-0 Big West). “I am a little disappointed,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “I think we did not put out our best performance in doubles, but we came out and fought in singles. We got into positions where we had match points to win the match, but we did not take advantage of it.” After rapidly losing the doubles point in a pair of 6-2 scores, the 49ers were placed in a tight spot in the start of singles. The Rainbow Wahine took a 2-0 lead when senior Lena Pacholski’s seven straight singles win streak was ended by Hawaii sophomore Petra Melounova 7-5, 6-2 and lengthened their lead 3-0 when sophomore Michelle Pits got the best of Long Beach freshman Sadaf Sadeghvaziri 6-4, 6-3. “It was a great match,” Hawaii's head coach Jun Hernandez said. “We competed very well, Long Beach always gives us good fights and today was a

Long Beach State women’s tennis falls against Saint Mary’s

The Long Beach State women's tennis team fell short 5-1 in its home opener Saturday  against Saint Mary’s. After winning the season opener at UC Riverside last Friday, LBSU (1-1) could not handle the Gaels (1-3) under the scorching sun at the Rhodes Tennis Center. “It was a tough loss,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “We let them control the points...I don't think we are the lesser team, but today we played as the lesser team.” The 49ers dropped all three of their doubles matches. The first loss was quick, when Saint Mary’s freshmen Hind Abdelouahid and Marija Kozryeva dominated Lena Pacholski and Natalia Munoz with a 6-1 defeat. The Gaels´ senior Kareena Manji and sophomore Danielle McIntyre overpowered Maren Helgo and Georgia Gulin 6-3. 49ers’ Lalita Devarakonda and Sadaf Sadeghvaziri´s match against Clementine Clement and Emma Critser was unfinished and the extra point was awarded to the away side. “We are really pleased on how we won today,” Saint Mary's head coach Simon Harston said. “We faced a very good team at home, we are happy on how we played doubles and five out of six singles we did great.” A light turned on for Long Beach when Pacholski

Natalia Munoz prepares to lead LBSU to Big West title

She may be easy going and friendly off the court, but don’t let Long Beach State Women’s tennis player Natalia Munoz fool you with her personality. During gametime, Munoz adopts a fierce and intense persona in order to clinch her victory.   Teammates and head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello all back up how much fun the sophomore is to have on this roster, and how the consistent positive energy she provides propels them forward as a unit. “She’s a great personality to have on the team,” Hilt-Costello said. “She gets along with everybody.” Finishing last season with one of the best records on the team, going 21-12. The sophomore started this year going 3-0, and has proved herself as a top player in the Big West. Even though she is only in her second year at LBSU, Munoz has really begun to play a huge role for this team. At the UNLV tournament this last week, the unstoppable sophomore defeated No. 83 ranked player Aiwen Zhu from UNLV, and then went on to win in the finals. “I played [Aiwen Zhu] on center court in front of her whole team, so I really wanted to show her up.” Munoz said. “When

LBSU women’s tennis starts off their season at the UNLV tournament

The Long Beach State women’s tennis team dominated its competition last season under head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello, and they look more than prepared to do the same this season. After finishing with an overall record of 17-6, including a 6-2 record in the Big West Conference, LBSU made it into the Big West Tournament where they were eliminated by UC Santa Barbara in the second round last season. Riddled with injuries throughout the season, the team never reached its full potential, an issue addressed by deepening the roster this year, according to Hilt-Costello. “I’m really excited about this season, we’ve got five new freshman, so there’s a whole new energy on this team right now,”  Hilt-Costello said. “We’ve got a lot of talent; I think this is the most depth we’ve had in our lineup in the last two to three years.” LBSU will be hitting off the semester with the UNLV tournament in Las Vegas on Friday that will last until Sunday. Hilt-Costello wishes to assess her roster’s capabilities, and identify any areas for improvement in the team’s first tournament of the season. Some of the key matchups this season for LBSU are against Hawai’i (Feb. 10) and UC