Commentary, Sports, Women's Sports, Women's Tennis

COMMENTARY: The gold standard for the Big West

The Big West is a solid conference for women’s tennis, with many competitive teams that are vying for the top spot. With the conference tournament approaching, it is important to note which team should win the Big West — Long Beach State.

Long Beach State (13-4, 5-2  Big West) is in the upper echelon of Big West teams, with Fullerton (12-4, 4-1  Big West) and Santa Barbara (9-7, 3-1 Big West) joining it.

All these teams have impressive records but what sets them apart are their most devastating losses, with Long Beach being the least worrisome.

Long Beach had its most worrisome loss to Fullerton, a 4-3 result to a team that is in the mix for the best record in the Big West. What makes this a concern is the Long Beach’s two best players, freshman Wiktoria Rutkowska and junior Natalia Munoz, losing close singles matches.

Outside of this, every team the 49ers have lost to are at least ranked above 60 in the Massey Ratings. Their losses against great talent are fair, with the other top Big West teams suffering the same fate.

This is when the concerns begin to come in for the other two Big West powerhouses.

Fullerton has had two of its four losses against Northridge and San Diego State, teams that are not considered top-90 teams. The lack of urgency for winnable games like this show the team’s weak spots.

Santa Barbara has only had one significant loss, getting battered 6-1 to Hawai’i, a lackluster team in the Big West.

Long Beach is a team that has yet to reach its ceiling as its starting roster consists of mostly freshmen. Each player has been steadily improving their games, especially after a loss.

Following a loss, the 49ers are not only undefeated but have given up only one point in all of its four games. This shows the team’s willingness to improve, a resilience that showed after their first loss of the season and has continued to shine throughout.

Long Beach’s success shows that they are the real deal, with their conference rivals needing to prove that they can keep up with the team’s intensity and willingness to improve. Until that day comes the 49ers can believe that they are the team to beat.

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