Long Beach State women’s tennis ends its week with a two-game win streak, defeating both Cincinnati and Hawai’i. The stretch serves as a boost of confidence for the team as its increase in resilience has been made more apparent.
It started Wednesday against Cincinnati (7-6) when Long Beach (11-3) outplayed its opponents to win the doubles point, giving them the confidence needed for an eventual 4-0 victory.
“We had a strong doubles point,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “Then in singles the one, three and five spots carried it and got us the win.”
The 49ers produced three dominant performances from freshman Wiktoria Rutkowska, junior Natalia Munoz and sophomore Lalita Devarakonda, who struggled the game prior but managed to bounce back.
The only singles winner to struggle was Munoz, who started her first set 0-3 but rallied back and win 6-4. Munoz eventually won her match in two sets and showed just her resilient.
“I looked at the scoreboard and noticed everyone was struggling,” Munoz said. “I knew if I could just get the first set then it would really help.”
The momentum Long Beach had in this game carried into its Thursday matchup against Hawai’i (3-7) as it pulled away with a 5-1 victory.
The Rainbow Warriors’ flaws shined against the 49ers, being outplayed for a majority of the game. The player who exploited Hawai’i the most was freshman Emma Bardet, who won after two sets 6-1, 6-3.
Bardet’s success had a lot do with her use of lobs, a shot that forces her opponent to stay by the baseline and keeps them honest. Unfortunately for Maayan Sela, Bardet’s opponent, she could not find the necessary counter to this and ended up making a plethora of bad decisions.
Not finding the necessary counter was the Rainbow Warriors’ biggest mistake, forcing her to hit multiple backhanded shots.
“I made her play backhand because she [was] better with her forehand,” Bardet said. “I thought I played well.”
Following the game against Hawai’i, the 49ers have an 11 a.m. Saturday matchup against UC Santa Barbara.