Sports, Women's Tennis

Bottom half gives Beach tennis a lift

The No. 44-ranked Long Beach State women’s tennis team closed out its five-match homestand with its third consecutive victory on Thursday at the Rhodes Tennis Center.

Despite super-tiebreaker losses at the No. 1 and No. 3 spots in singles action, the Beach received valuable contributions from the bottom half of its lineup en route to a decisive 5-2 win over Louisville.

“We obviously got to five points in a hurry,” LBSU head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “Had we played the full the third set [in the No. 1 and No. 3 singles matches], I’m sure those would have been ours.”

Sophomore Sarah Cantlay quickly ousted Gabrielle Duncan in No. 6 action, 6-0, 6-1.

Keeping up with her strong play this season, No. 5 singles player Rachel Manasse dominated Amelia Harris, 6-1, 6-2.

Making her return to the lineup after sitting out the last match, sophomore Jaklin Alawi made quick work of Kaysara Mandry in No. 4 action, 6-1, 6-2.

In just her third match since returning from suspension, Klaudia Malenovska showed no signs of rust as she captured her third victory at the No. 2. Malenovska finished off Rebecca Shine in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.

“You get more confident when you play in [more] matches,” Malenovska said. “So it’s not like I’m [bettering] my game. It’s about getting more confident on the court.”

The victory also marked Malenovska’s first two-set win this year.

“Klaudia has helped our lineup immensely,” Hilt-Costello said. “To be winning her matches straightaway after sitting out for a year and a half . . . it pushes our latter down, which makes us even stronger at the bottom end.”

In an upset at the No. 1 slot, junior Anais Dallara fell to Julia Fellerhoff, 3-6, 6-3, 9-11.

After getting off to a slow start, Dallara seized the momentum of the match in the second set only to let it slip away after committing several unforced errors into the net during the tiebreaker.

“When you play a [expletive] match that only goes up to 10 points, you can get unlucky,” Dallara said. “I wasn’t as strong as I should have been in the tiebreaker. [Fellerhoff] was on fire.”

At the No. 3 slot, senior Deborah Armstrong was unable to finish off strong as she fell in three sets to Mandy Brown, 4-6, 6-1, 4-10.

The ‘Niners picked up the doubles point with relative ease in a sweep. The No. 3 duo of Cantlay and Julie Lazar kicked off doubles action with an 8-2 win over Brown and Duncan.

Alawi and Manasse outpaced Harris and Stefanie Villajuan, 8-3., as they sealed the doubles point.

Meanwhile, the No. 1 tandem of Dallara and Malenovska capped the sweep as they rallied from an early hole to take down Fellerhoff and Shine, 8-5.

The Beach returns to action Friday in Malibu to face No. 37-ranked Pepperdine at 1:30 p.m.


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