The CSUN women’s tennis team won its third straight match on Tuesday with a 4-3 defeat of Fresno Pacific University at the Matador Tennis Complex.
Not only did the Sunbirds come into the match with a 17-0 record, but the No. 2 nationally-ranked team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) recently won the Golden State Athletic Conference championship. Despite being a level below the NCAA, the NAIA still attracts top national and international athletes, especially transfers from the best schools in the country.
CSUN head coach Gary Victor was proud of the team’s performance, and said the win was a great confidence boost for the upcoming Big West Conference Championship on April 25.
“This is as big as any win we’ve had because of where it comes in the season,” he said. “We can beat anyone in our conference with the way we played.”
The Matadors got down 1-0 early by losing two out of the three doubles matches. For the second consecutive week, senior Kanykey Koichumanova and freshman Brooke Doane played in the No. 1 doubles slot. Unlike their first match at the one spot, the duo could not deliver a win. The pair was defeated by Anna Karavayeva and Maria Klokotzky, 7-9 for just their second loss of the season in doubles.
In the No. 2 position, junior Victoria Brymer and sophomore Kristy Fournell fell to Katia Sabate and Amandine Ferot, 5-8, and in the No. 3 spot, senior Canna Furuta and freshman Nina Jaworowski defeated Angelina Minova and Brittany Salley, 8-2. Junior Sandra Kukla sat out doubles to rest her ailing wrist.
After losing the doubles point, Northridge had to win four out of the six singles matches to claim the victory.
“I knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Victor said. “But I have a lot of confidence in my players.”
In the top singles match, Brymer fell to Minova, 1-6, 3-6, yet Koichumanova followed with a win in the No. 2 slot over Karavayeva, 6-3, 6-3. Koichumanova evened her singles record at 9-9.
In the No. 3 match, Furuta lost in three sets to Sabate, 7-6 (6), 5-7, 1-10. Despite the loss, Victor said Furuta played some of her best tennis of the season against the top player on the Fresno Pacific squad. Sabate transferred from Pepperdine this past winter where she was a nationally-ranked singles player. She was also a member Spain’s national team that won the European Cup.
“(Canna) played outrageous tennis,” Victor said. “She was right there with (Sabate) the entire match.”
Kukla followed in the No. 4 match, defeating Klokotzky, 7-6 (5), 6-1 to bring her record to 12-5 on the season.
Kukla said she was nervous at the start of the match because of her poor outing against New Mexico State on Saturday.
“I didn’t know if I would have my pace and rhythm, ” Kukla said. “I am a player who lives off confidence and I got it back (in this match).”
Her opponent is considered a “power player” where as Kukla has more athletic ability and likes to play long points.
“I grew up playing on clay which is more physically and mentally challenging,” Kukla said. “I would rather wear my opponent down than play power tennis and today was one of those days.”
In the No. 5 slot, Doane upped her team leading record to 12-4 with a win over Ferot, 6-1, 6-1, and Jaworowski blanked Salley in the sixth match, 6-0, 6-0
Northridge plays its last regular season match against California State University, Bakersfield (0-11) on Saturday at the Matador Tennis Complex. First serve is set for 1 p.m.