Long Beach State women’s tennis face Cincinnati and Hawai’i this week, acting as important indicators of the team’s ceiling upon reaching the most important stretch of the regular season.
Cincinnati (7-4) will be a legitimate challenge for Long Beach (9-3) on Wednesday, with the Bearcats having a Massey Rating rank that is only 12 spots behind the 49ers. This is an issue for the 49ers since their last two losses came from teams that were just as competitive.
“All we can do now is talk about it, learn from it and come back out to work on the areas we were short in,” coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said after the team’s loss against Houston last Thursday.
Despite losing its matchup against Houston, Long Beach showed the ability to battle adversity, taking three singles matches to a third set. This silver lining helps the team’s case for winning, and in turn would help transition it into its next game against Hawaii.
Hawaii (3-5) is a matchup that should by no means be a cake walk, with the team boasting a 2-1 record against other Big West teams. The 49ers currently hold a 3-1 record in the Big West, but can drop in the standings if Thursday’s match goes wrong.
The Rainbow Warriors won their two conference games against Northridge and Irvine. LBSU beat CSUN 4-1 earlier this season, a much more impressive margin than Hawaii’s 4-3 victory.
Similar to the Northridge win, the 49ers will need to get help from freshman Wiktoria Rutkowska, sophomore Lolita Devarakonda and junior Natalia Munoz — all players who had rough outings in their match against Houston.
The 49ers’ three winningest-singles players need to get match wins if they expect a victory against Hawai’i. The trio of players have been crucial to the team’s success, as Long Beach usually goes winless whenever a majority of them lose their matches.
Long Beach State plays 2 p.m. Wednesday against Cincinnati at the Rhodes Tennis Center.