The CSUN women’s tennis team broke its five match-losing streak on Saturday with a 5-2 win over visiting Big West opponent University of California, Riverside.
This was the last conference match of the season for the Matadors (10-7, 6-2 BWC) before the Big West championship begins on April 25.
When asked how the win felt, CSUN head coach Gary Victor had two simple words – “It’s nice.”
“It’s been a while,” Victor said. “We had so many (wins) early on and just went through a tough patch there.”
For the second straight match, freshman Nina Jaworowski was sidelined with a foot injury, and although senior Kanykey Koichumanova was able to play doubles, she rested her ailing knee for singles. Despite being down two players, the Matadors took the doubles point and won four of the six singles matches.
In doubles play, the No. 1 team of junior Victoria Brymer and senior Canna Furuta lost to Erynne Oki and H.R. Espiritu, 3-8. In the No. 2 position, Koichumanova and freshman Brooke Doane upped their record to 15-1 with a convincing 8-1 win over Donna McCullough and Yasaman Sakhakom.
“(Kanykey and Brooke) are having an amazing year, ” Victor said. “There is a good chance they will move to number one doubles next match.”
In the No. 3 slot, junior Sandra Kukla and sophomore Kristy Fournell, playing in place of Jaworowski, defeated Angelique Corpuz and Roxanne Plata, 8-1. This was only the third time this season Kukla and Fournell have played doubles together.
“The first two matches didn’t go very well, but today there was no pressure and we didn’t have anything to lose,” Kukla said. “We were really excited about the victory.”
In singles play, Brymer fell to Oki in three sets, 1-6, 6-2, 3-6. Kukla played in the two spot with Koichumanova out and defeated Espiritu, 6-4, 6-3. Kukla is a team best 11-4 on the season.
Kukla had nothing but praise for her team after the match. Despite playing nine grueling matches in 25 days, and being mentally and physically drained, she said her teammates were focused on getting the win.
“We really wanted (it) and everybody tried,” Kukla said. “It was our last conference match so we wanted to end with a big bang.”
Furuta blanked Sakhakom in the third match, 6-0, 6-0 to bring her season record to 7-9. Doane won her third match in a row with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over McCullough in the No. 4 position. In the No. 5 slot, Fournell cruised past Corpuz, 6-4, 6-0. She evens her record at 5-5 on the season. In the sixth slot, playing in her second official match, freshman Whitney Palluch fell to Plata in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 2-6.
“Our down stretch has happened,” Victor said. “Our worst tennis is behind us, and in the conference tournament we are going to peak.”
Kukla said the team will take advantage of the upcoming week off and get some much needed rest.
“We need to get the energy back this week and that is what we are working on,” Kukla said. “The last five matches were so hard, but we’re back on track and we just have to keep trying, and keep trying. It’s going to work out. It has to work out. ”
Northridge hosts New Mexico State (9-7) on Saturday at the Matador Tennis Complex. First serve is schedule for 11 a.m.