Sundial file photo by Kaitlyn Lavo
Women’s tennis head coach Gary Victor reminded his players to mentally escape the nearly 90-degree heat – and equally fierce competition – by giving their pre-game speech to theirs ahead of the Irvine clash on Thursday “Happy place” went.
The Matadors found their lucky spot after beating UC Irvine on Thursday as they extended their longest winning streak of the season to 4-0.
CSUN hosted the anteaters on a warm afternoon that started with a one-two for the hosts, who won 3-4, earning the matadors the first point of the day.
“Our doubles have reached a different level. Our doubles teams are gelled and there is this confidence and joy in playing, that’s really what we want, ”said Victor.
The home team maintained that momentum when Ekatarina Repina quickly defeated their opponent Jessica Tsukiji in the first two sets, winning 6-0 in the first set and 6-2 in the second.
“My expectations were not that high today, I think that helped me today. I was more relaxed, not so nervous and just played my game, ”said Repina. “We’re a team of fighters who just want to win. That’s why we’re here now.”
The second victory went to CSUN senior Jenna Dorian, who defeated her opponent 6: 3 and then 6: 0. Dorian was a last minute swap for Jacquie Tan, who was eliminated after an unfinished double.
Dorian’s win gave the home team a 3-0 advantage, including the colon, over Irvine. The last three games continued as the afternoon warmed up.
After a long battle against UCI’s Emily Fowler, Sasha Turchak took the Matadors’ victory by beating her opponent in a thrilling match. Turchak was confident after beating Fowler 6-2 in the first set, but felt the pressure during game two as her opponent picked up the pace.
“Towards the end of the second set the clouds disappeared and it definitely got pretty hot. It was just about sticking to it mentally because as it got closer I got a little more nervous. “Said Turchak. “The coaches and my team-mates reminded me to play my game and stay focused. That helped me get through.”
With the support of their teammates watching the game and cheering them on, Turchak came through in the second set with a final score of 6-3, winning the fourth game in a row for CSUN.
“Sasha played a role. She’s such a force, a hardworking person who plays great, ”said Victor.
The remaining games remained unfinished, and Magdalena Hedrzak, the team’s number 3, lost 6-7 in the first, grueling set. Ana Fraile Toboso’s back-and-forth match against her opponent earned them a point in each of the first two sets . The match was 1-1 when they were told to abandon the remainder of the third set.
As the Big West tournament approaches, the Matadors will mostly face conference attendees in the upcoming games. The undefeated Cal Poly will host CSUN on Saturday – a match that will test the Matadors’ ability to hold on to their winning streak. The Matadors will play another away game at UC Riverside on Sunday April 11th.
“We have to try to enjoy the process and enjoy being out there. Enjoy the pressure, pressure is a privilege. If they can get involved, we’ll be fine, ”said Victor.