Long Beach State women’s tennis bounced back to beat Cal Poly 5-2 after a poor performance in its doubles matches. It was a strong response for the 49ers after struggling in their last match against San Diego.
Cal Poly (3-6) outplayed Long Beach (7-1) in the doubles matches, winning two of three matches, setting the tone early. Despite the momentum, the Mustangs were not able to capitalize against a 49ers team that was eager to fix their mistakes.
“It does take the wind out of you to lose the doubles point,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “But we came back strong in singles to take all six spots so that was an impressive performance.”
After their performance early on, the 49ers were able to win every singles match and shined against the adversity they were faced with. Even players who made plenty of mistakes such as freshman Zara Lennon and sophomore Lolita Devarakonda were able to come out on top after three competitive sets.
This fix was rooted on the idea of playing near the baseline almost exclusively. Playing from a distance gave the players more room to work with and helped them showcase their strengths.
The game-to-game change was exemplified by freshman Wiktoria Rutkowska, a player who has struggled as of late, with a doubles match loss against Cal Poly. Despite trouble early on, Rutkowska was able to win her singles match in two sets 6-1, 6-3 by making minor adjustments.
“I was trying to focus on simple choices,” freshman Wiktoria Rutkowska said. “I put a heavy spin on my hits … not focusing on stupid mistakes.”
Long Beach had more to deal with than just the game itself, with Cal Poly being overwhelmingly celebratory despite no significant success in their singles matches. The overtly-loud chants created a lot of friction between the Mustangs and 49ers.
“I think as they moved through the matches they realized that all they had was a big mouth,” Hilt-Costello said. “We knew our tennis so we just needed to focus on it.”
Following this game, the 49ers have an 11 a.m. Friday matchup at home against Weber State.