Long Beach State women’s tennis begin their journey in the Big West Conference tournament against Cal Poly, a favorable matchup that can add plenty of momentum to a potential run this weekend.
Long Beach (14-5, 6-2 Big West) got the best of Cal Poly (7-11, 3-5 Big West) in their previous meeting, with the 49ers coming away with a 6-1 victory over the Mustangs. The game was no fluke as the 49ers showcased their overwhelming talent, something they’ll need to repeat this weekend.
“We think we’re the better team,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “[With that in mind] we need to take Cal Poly seriously.”
Despite a noticeable talent discrepancy, the Mustangs can still win if they’re able to get in the heads of their opponents. This was a tactic they used against the 49ers last meeting, with players being overtly loud in each of their matches.
The tactic definitely bothered Long Beach at the start of the game, with the team losing the doubles point after two close matches. This could’ve easily hurt the 49ers further in singles but that was not the case.
The loud celebrating by Cal Poly was getting under the skin of Long Beach players, but the 49ers responded well by winning five of their singles matches.
Two players whose performances will be most crucial are freshmen Wiktoria Rutkowska and Emma Bardet. The players sit at the top of the team’s roster and will be entering their first Big West Conference tournament.
Rutkowska and Bardet have been in a slump as of late, holding sub.500 singles records in their last 10 games. The players also have a tendency of allowing minor mistakes to hurt their performances.
Fortunately for them, they now have an entire regular season under their belt, with many previous performances they can pick apart and improve upon. The 49ers have had a week to prepare for the tournament, giving them plenty of time to clean up prior mistakes.
The 49ers will be participating in the Big West Conference tournament at Indian Wells, California April 26-28.