The Long Beach State women’s tennis team travelled to Las Vegas and went on a 24-5 rampage at the UNLV Fall Invitational. The reigning Big West champions dominated on the court in doubles and singles.
The Beach put forth a great performance Sunday, with key players taking major steps forward. Junior Zara Lennon was one of these players, going undefeated in her singles and doubles matches.
“I am extremely happy with Zara’s performance this weekend,” head coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. “She played with intensity and purpose all weekend and it is no surprise that she went 6-0. [It’s a result of] her hard work over the summer and continued efforts that last four weeks.”
Last season Lennon had an up-and-down year in her singles matches, ending the season with a 13-13 record. Her hard work always showed on the court, but never truly materialized until now, with an offseason of practice improving her consistency and adding to her confidence.
Sophomore Emma Bardet also had a great performance on Sunday, with the lefty continuing to justify her recognition as one of the team’s best players, matching up against opposing team’s second-best player.
Bardet also shined brightly in her doubles matches, with new partner sophomore Wiktoria Rutkowska proving they are a force to be reckoned with. The tandem won all three of their doubles games over the weekend, giving a compelling case for why Hilt-Costello should continue to keep the duo together.
“I felt that Emma and Wiktoria performed well together in their first tournament,” Hilt-Costello said. “As they get to know each other better on the doubles courts, I think that they could be a very strong team.”
Bardet had plenty of doubles success last season, but it was never with a consistent partner, which is a stark contrast to Rutkowska who had her partner set in stone for the entire regular season last year. The Beach has a whole semester to build chemistry, leaving plenty of room for the sophomore tandem to earn a spot in the NCAA doubles rankings.
“The fall semester is meant for the players to improve their individual rankings,” Hilt-Costello said. “It can help them get into postseason…it gives them the opportunity to play against ranked opponents.”
Long Beach State will host the Beach Invitational Oct. 11 through 13 at the Rhodes Tennis Center.