MALIBU— Long Beach State women’s tennis lost 4-2 to Berkeley in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The game had some nice back-and-forth rallies, but in the end the 49ers were unable to use their collective talent to pull out the upset.
Long Beach came into the matchup as Big West Conference champions, having had a comeback victory that saw them overcome their flaws. The same issues arose against the Golden Bears, who took advantage right out of the gate.
Doubles exemplified the team’s outing as a whole, losing two of its three matches. The duo that won its match, freshmen Wiktoria Rutkowska and Dominique Meyer, played a great 6-4 set against opponents that ranked 17 in the nation.
“At one that was a strong win for them,” coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “We had ourselves in a position to win the doubles point … so I hope we learn from that.”
The other two doubles performances fell short at differing levels. Sophomore Lolita Devarakonda and junior Natalia Munoz, the team’s most consistent duo, lost in a lackluster 6-2 set.
The final duo, freshman Zara Lennon and sophomore Carlota Casasampere, could have swung things Long Beach’s way if it weren’t for a 7-5 ending to a set that saw them falter at the most crucial moment.
The transition to singles did not change much for the 49ers, with many players keeping matches close but not putting points on the board.
Two players were able to overcome this, Munoz and sophomore Sadaf Sadeghvaziri, winning their matches in two sets.
After making major strides through the season, Devarakonda didn’t allow a ranked opponent to stop her from competing, losing her two sets 6-3, 7-5.
Even those who lost by more substantial margins like Rutkowksa and freshman Emma Bardet competed in their respective matches. Their ranked opponents were able to make the adjustments needed to win and in different circumstances the 49ers could have came out on top.
“We had a lot of deuces that could’ve went to either side,” Rutkowska said. “I’m not happy but it wasn’t the worst.”