Women’s Tennis: Matadors rally behind freshmen for comeback win over Cal Poly

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Women’s Tennis: Matadors rally behind freshmen for comeback win over Cal Poly

Andrew Martinez

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Freshman Vivian Lin swept her opponent during the women’s tennis Big West opener against Cal Poly Pomona on Feb. 1. Lin was named Big West Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week on Wednesday, Jan 29. Photo credit: Trevor Stamp / Senior Photographer

Faced with an early 3-0 deficit against the Cal Poly Mustangs, the Matadors (3-0, 1-0 Big West) rallied to win four of six singles matches to take the singles point and win 4-3 at the Matador Tennis Complex.

The match came down to freshman Mickey Hsu’s No. 3 singles match against Mustang junior Hannah Stone, who took a 4-1 lead in the second set after winning the first set 6-4.

Head coach Gary Victor described how he explained to Hsu she had to win the match.

“I’m out of things to say,” Victor said to Hsu during a timeout. “Right now you’re making too many mistakes, you’re down 4-1.  It’s going to be up to you, because Kristen is winning, Vivian’s winning, and Lorraine just split sets.”

At the moment, Matadors freshmen Vivian Lin and Kristen Poei, along with senior Lorraine Cheung were beginning to pull away from Cal Poly in their matches.

“My coach came and said ‘I don’t want to give you pressure but all three of your teammates are winning now so I’m the deciding point’”, Hsu said.  “So I had to come back, I didn’t have a choice.”

Hsu rallied to win the second set 6-4 and won the third set 6-3 to defeat Stone and win the match for CSUN.

“It was a remarkable win, we looked like we were gonna get beat 4-0, and we just fought back,” said head coach Gary Victor.

CSUN had trouble adjusting to the windy conditions Saturday afternoon, as Victor thought Cal Poly took advantage of the conditions early .

“We haven’t had a ton of wind this winter, and I think they at times handled the wind better,” said Victor.  “I think they handled it better for the first 80 percent of the match and we just broke through.”

The Matadors fell in an early hole as No. 1 doubles teammates Lin and junior Criss Rodriguez fell 8-2 and No. 3 doubles partners Cheung and sophomore Jessica Warren fell 8-4.  Victor admitted one of his doubles’ duos didn’t communicate well and was disappointed.

Rodriguez and Warren both dropped their singles match-ups in straight sets, with Rodriguez losing her first two matchups of her CSUN career on Saturday.

However, Lin escaped with a 7-5, 7-6 victory in the No. 2 singles draw to start the Matador comeback.

“I didn’t think too much (about other matches), I just focused on my match,” Lin said.  “It’s not our best performance because of the wind but we’re still trying.”

Poei handily defeated Cal Poly senior Kathryn Webb in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, which impressed Victor.

“(Poei) has the talent to play number one for us, or a lot of teams, that’s how good she is,” said Victor.  “The more she believes it, the better we’re going to be.”

Cheung lost the first set in the No. 6 singles draw against Mustang freshman Sayaka Tsugai 6-3, but rallied to win the next two sets 6-2, 6-2.

“Lorraine, who is heart and soul, one of the toughest kids you will ever see, started to come back,” Victor said. “It was guts.  With her legs, with her heart, tried to be less of a shot-maker and more of just making shots.”

Victor was pleased with the comeback, but had concerns about his team’s slow start in the match as well as their adjustments with the wind.

The Matadors will take a week off before returning on the road against the Loyola Marymount Lions (1-2) on Feb. 13.  Their next Big West matchup will be Feb. 15 at home against the UC Riverside Highlanders.