The No. 36-ranked Long Beach State women’s tennis team could’ve avenged two regular-reason losses in consecutive years against No. 27 Pepperdine when it mattered most.
But instead, it was the Waves who rallied in two singles matches to crush the 49ers’ hopes of advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament in a 4-2 decision Saturday at the Stanford Regional in Palo Alto, Calif.
Trailing 2-1, the next four matches went to three sets as both teams went back-and-forth.
LBSU’s Deborah Armstrong beat No. 122 Anamika Bhargava in the first set of her match at the No. 2 spot, 6-2, but dropped the second and third set by a margin of 6-4 as Pepperdine took a commanding 3-1 lead in the match.
With their backs against the wall, the ‘Niners then responded at the No. 5 as Sarah Cantlay mounted a comeback of her own. After falling 6-3 in the first set to Megan Moore, the sophomore rallied to win the next two sets to take the match, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Down 3-2, The Beach was in position to tie the match after Anna Jeczmionka defeated former Waves’ No. 1 player Ali Walters 6-4 in the first set. However, Walters came from behind to win the next two sets and the match, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to ultimately seal the tournament win for Pepperdine.
Unfortunately for LBSU, Rachel Manasse led the sixth singles match by a score of 6-4, 2-6, 6-5 over Ale Granillo at No. 3 singles when play was concluded.
Manasse previously had a match point at 5-4 in the final set that would have been he Beach’s third point, but instead, Granillo managed to extend the set to avoid the loss.
The 49ers struggled in doubles play, facing two ranked pairs from the Waves. No. 65 Bhargava and Maria Zalameda led Armstrong and Dallara at No. 1 doubles, but an injury forced Zalameda to retire, giving LBSU the first match.
Pepperdine still won the point, however, as the tandem of Colffer and Waters defeated Cantlay and Luzar, 8-3, while No. 53 Granillo and Issara upended Alawi and Manasse, 8-3.
LBSU’s Anais Dallara took care of business in No. 1 singles play as she dominated Arianna Colffer, 6-1, 6-1. However, the Waves regained the lead with a second point as Kunpak Issara defeated Jaklin Alawi, 6-4, 6-1 before the final four matches.