The CSUN women’s tennis team lost its fifth straight match on Thursday, falling to non-conference opponent Loyola Marymount 6-1 at the LMU Tennis Center.
After starting the season with a 9-2 record and a national ranking, the Matadors are now 9-7 (5-2 Big West Conference) and fell out of the Top 75 for the first time this season.
“It’s not like we’ve lost to five junk teams,” freshman Brooke Doane said. “They are experienced teams playing higher-ranked opponents.”
CSUN head coach Gary Victor said the team is burned out, especially since the Matadors have played eight matches in 23 days, including four during Spring Break.
“We may have played a little too many (matches),” Victor said. “Sometimes it gets less than enjoyable when you’re working so hard with school and tennis.”
The Lions (8-11) won the doubles point and five of the six singles points. Doane was the sole point winner for Northridge. In the No. 5 singles match, she defeated Shauna Morgan, 3-6, 6-4, 10-8. Doane ups her season record to 9-5.
“I just wanted to win the point for the team, so we were not swept,” Doane said. “We are a pretty good team, but young at the same time.”
In other singles play, junior Victoria Brymer fell to the 67th- ranked player in the nation, Pavla Mesterova, 1-6, 2-6. Mesterova was recently named the West Coast Conference Singles Player of the Month for March.
In the No. 2 slot, senior Kanykey Koichumanova had to retire four games into the first set against Tamara Tanner because of a knee injury. In the No. 3 position, junior Sandra Kukla lost only her fourth match of the season, falling to Tina Razloznik 2-6, 2-6. Kukla is still a team best 10-4 on the season.
The fourth match had Jasmin Heckel defeating senior Canna Furuta in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, while Bliss Nixon earned a Lions’ point with a win over freshman Whitney Paluch in the No. 6 position, 6-1, 7-5. This was Paluch’s first official appearance in a CSUN match.
In doubles play, the No. 1 team of Furuta and Brymer were blanked by Mesterova and Tanner, 8-0. The duo is now 7-6 on the season.
In the No. 2 doubles position, Doane and Koichumanova ran their doubles record to 14-1 with a convincing win over Morgan and Razloznik, 8-4. The Lions’ Heckel and Nixon defeated the team of Kukla and sophomore Kristy Fournell, 8-1. This was only the second time Kukla and Fournell have played doubles together. Kukla’s regular partner, freshman Nina Jaworowski, did not play due to a foot injury.
“Everyone is trying as hard as they can,” Victor said. “I am very proud and we are still in great standing in the conference as the third seed.”
Northridge returned to conference action on Saturday. The team hosted the University of California, Riverside (7-6, 0-3 BWC) at the Matador Tennis Complex at 12 p.m. The match, which took place after this issue went to press, was considered a crucial match for CSUN because it will play a key role in the seeding for the Big West Championship at the end of the month.
“We are going to give it all we have,” Doane said of the match. “And then take a break.”