The CSUN women’s tennis team has lost four consecutive matches, including two crucial Big West Conference meetings this past weekend.
The No. 68 nationally-ranked Matadors fell to No. 49 California State University, Long Beach, 6-1, and No. 60 University of California, Irvine, 5-2.
The Matadors slip to 9-6 on the season and 5-2 in the Big West. Going into the weekend, CSUN had a share of first place in the conference, but now finds itself in third place with only five matches remaining until the Big West Championships.
The good news was that senior Canna Furuta and Kanykey Koichumanova were named Big West Women’s Tennis Players of the Week. Furuta was recognized for her play against Texas State and UC Santa Barbara from March 10-16. Koichumanova was acknowledged for her performance against Yale, Minnesota and Boise State from March 17-23.
On Friday afternoon, CSUN hosted Long Beach State (12-5, 5-0) at the Matador Tennis Complex. Not only did the 49ers come in with an impressive record and national ranking, but the squad is a perennial threat in the Big West. Long Beach State has won five NCAA Tournaments, five Big West Titles and has been nationally ranked for seven years.
“Long Beach is a more talented team,” said head coach Gary Victor. “They will be in the Finals for the Big West.”
The 49ers swept the Matadors in doubles play, winning 8-4 in each match. The No. 31 nationally-ranked team of Hannah Grady and Stephanie Bengson defeated junior Victoria Brymer and Furuta.
In the No. 2 slot, Koichumanova and freshman Brooke Doane went into the match with Stephanie Jeanes and Jessica Weeks at a perfect 12-0, but came out with a loss.
“They never talked about the streak,” Victor said. “They are pretty ego-free. There is just no arrogance.”
In the No. 3 position, junior Sandra Kukla and freshman Nina Jaworowski fell to Deborah Armstrong and Lisa Sutton.
In singles play, Kukla was the sole singles and point winner for the Matadors. She defeated Armstrong, 7-6 (9), 6-1 in the No. 3 slot.
In the top singles match, Brymer fell to Grady, 4-6, 2-6 and Koichumanova lost in straight sets to Bengson, 0-6, 6-7 (4). In the lower singles bracket, Furuta fell to Jeanes 4-6, 2-6 and in the fifth spot, sophomore Kristy Fournell went the distance with Weeks, but lost 2-6, 6-4, 1-6. In the No. 6 position, Sutton defeated Jaworowski, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
On Sunday, Northridge traveled south to face another conference foe and nationally-ranked opponent, UC Irvine (10-7, 4-1). In a grueling six hour match, the Matadors left with a 5-2 loss.
Doane was the only Matador singles winner and also won in doubles with Koichumanova. Doane defeated Heidi Kaloi in the No. 6 slot, 6-2, 7-5, to bring her season singles record to 8-4. In doubles, the pair easily handled Kaloi and Inna Agababian, 8-2. Doane and Koichumanova have a team-best record of 13-1 in doubles.
The Matadors won the doubles point as Brymer and Furuta took the No. 1 match against Becky Bernhard and Clare Fermin, 8-5. Brymer and Furuta push their record to 7-6 as a team. In the No. 3 slot, Lisa Shih and Jessica Broadfoot defeated Kukla and Fournell, 8-6.
In the singles portion of the day, four of the matches went to three sets. In each match, the Matadors won the first set, but dropped the remaining two to lose the point.
“We have to be more physically and mentally tough for three-setters,” Victor said. “We lost a close one, but I was very proud of the team.”
Brymer lost her top match to Bernhard 1-6, 0-6, and Koichumanova lost her match in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 5-7. Brymer is 3-11 on the season, while Koichumanova is 7-9 in singles play.
In the No. 3 match, Kukla’s five-match winning streak was snapped as she fell 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 to bring her record to 9-3. In the No. 4 position, Furuta lost in three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 1-6 and in the No. 5 slot, Fournell also lost her match in three sets, 7-5, 3-6, 2-6. Furuta is 6-7 on the season, while Fournell evens her record at 4-4.
“Irvine is a very good team,” Victor said. “We’ve come a long way where we can go there and almost walk out with a win.”
The Matadors travel to Loyola Marymount on Thursday to play an out-of-conference match. First serve is set for 11 a.m.