It was a déjà vu moment for the Long Beach State women’s tennis team Sunday when it faced UC Irvine for the second consecutive year in the Big West Conference tournament championship at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
This time around, however, it was the 49ers who claimed the title and an automatic bid to NCAA tournament by a decisive 4-1 margin.
With the win, LBSU claimed its eighth Big West title in the last 10 years, seven of which came in the last eight seasons.
Senior Deborah Armstrong put forth an enormous performance in her final Big West championship of her career.
Armstrong’s strong play began in doubles action alongside her partner, Anais Dallara, which defeated the duo of Hannah Holladay and Rebecca Kwan in a tough 9-7 match.
Armstrong had not played doubles since March 11. With Klaudia Malenovska out with an injury she sustained in Saturday’s semifinal match against the University of Pacific, Armstrong took her place in doubles play.
Also filling in at No. 2 singles action, Armstrong captured her second win of the day, except this time, she clinched the Big West title for the ‘Niners with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Kwan.
No. 1 singles player Anais Dallara also earned her second win of the match with a victory over Courtney Byron, 6-4, 7-6.
Newly inserted Anna Jeczmionka, who took Malenovska’s place in the lineup, pulled off a victory at No. 6 play against Holladay, 7-6, 6-1.
Sarah Cantlay drew the only loss of the match, falling to Brooke Schweyer, 2-6, 2-6.
With the victory, the Beach earned an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The tournament bracket pairings will be announced on Tuesday at 2 p.m.