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 great tennis match. It could have gone either way, our team did a great job.”
Catalonian freshmen Carlota Casasampere gave Long Beach its first point of the game by defeating Hawaii’s junior Roxanne Resma in three sets 6-2, 2-6, 6-1. Following was another win for the 49ers when sophomore Natalia Munoz topped senior Marina Hruba 6-3, 7-5.
When the comeback seemed near for Long Beach, freshmen Lalita Devarakonda could not capitalize the effort and finished losing in three sets against Rainbow Wahine’s sophomore Nikola Dolakova 6-0, 3-6, 7-6.
“It was heartbreaking,” said Devarakonda. “I was hoping to do the best I could for my team, I gave it my all but the result was not in my favor. I had two match points I could not get, it was a tough match and I will learn a lot from this.”
“When you have match points against good teams you have to take advantage,” Hilt-Costello said. “We let them slip away today and that was the difference. It is early on in season, we have to keep working to improve and hopefully we will come out on top next time.”
The 49ers will have a long trip to Washington D.C. when they face off against the George Washington Colonials at 10 a.m. PST Friday at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.