No. 47-ranked Long Beach State women’s tennis team defeated its conference rival, No. 63 UC Irvine, as it continued to be undefeated in Big West play on Friday in a 5-2 victory.
The Beach improved its record to 10-3 overall and 5-0 in the conference.
The 49ers proved themselves front-runners in the Big West as they came in strong and got off to an early lead with the doubles point at the Rhodes Tennis Center.
The ‘Niners showed they were well prepared as freshman Laura Bernard and senior Rachel Manasse dominated UCI seniors Courtney Byron and Hannah Holladay 8-2.
“I ate a lot and slept a lot,” Bernard said. “I was ready.”
Early in the set, UCI’s pair had both Bernard and Manasse sprinting alley to alley with several consecutive overhands, but somehow the 49ers miraculously held on as they struggled to return each stroke until UCI hit one into the net.
“It was the best point of my life,” Bernard said. “We wont every point after that.”
However, senior Anais Dallara and junior Klaudia Malenovska struggled in their set as they lost to sophomore Franzika Goettsching and junior Kristina Smith 3-8.
Senior Julie Luzar and junior Sarah Cantlay won a very streaky set over the freshmen sisters, Ali Facey and Kat Facey, as they won four consecutive games to gain a 4-2 lead, then lost three to fall behind 4-5, but won the next four to claim an 8-5 victory.
LBSU stayed confident as they finished UCI off in singles with wins in four of the six matches.
Manasse kept her fire going in singles going as she dominated Byron 6-0, 6-2.
Bernard followed suit as she defeated Goettsching 6-2, 6-0 with a combination of precise ball placement and good hustle to make her opponent work, forcing several errors.
“I played the long games,” Bernard said. “I was more aggressive and played deep.”
Luzar gave the ‘Niners the last point they needed to win as she won her match 6-4, 6-3.
Malenovska suffered the ‘Niners first loss of the match-in as she lost the match 6-2, 6-3 against Kat Facey.
Dallara held on to a tight victory over Smith as she dropped the second set in a tiebreaker then went on to win 10-6 in the superior-tiebreaker, winning the match 6-2, 6-7, 10-6 with impeccable corner shots and overpowering strokes.
Cantlay finished last as she lost to junior Stephanie Hammel in a 4-6, 6-7 match loss.