Women’s tennis team loses three in Vegas Tournament

The CSUN women’s tennis team went to Las Vegas looking for the jackpot. Unfortunately the house usually wins. Playing in the fourth annual UNLV Lady Rebel Classic was a chance for the Lady Matadors to get back on the court for the first time after rain cancelled their previous match against UC Santa Barbara.

On Friday, the Lady Matadors could not get past 15th-ranked Tulane in the opening round of the tournament, losing 7-0 at the Fertitta Tennis Complex. Junior YuYu Myinttun pushed Julie Smekodub to three sets at third singles, but eventually fell 3-6, 6-2, 10-1.

Smekodub is currently ranked 71 in the nation.

Freshman Canna Furuta, a star in the making for the Lady Matadors, had an opportunity to face Jenny Kuehn, who is the 55th-ranked player in the country. Furuta lost 6-4, 6-0, but believes she learned a lot from facing a player like Kuehn.

“It was exciting because we do not get to play too many top players and top teams,” Furuta said. “But I learned I have to come in more aggressive and be more consistent.”

The Lady Matadors made the doubles play close, taking a victory at the third spot with Kasia Krasinska and Kanykey Koichumanova winning 9-7, but Tulane pulled out the other two matches.

“Tulane is a very good team,” said head coach Gary Victor. “It was great to play great teams from big divisions.”

The next match for the Lady Matadors was Saturday against Texas Tech in the losers bracket.

Things did not get much better for CSUN against the Lady Red Raiders on Saturday afternoon. The Lady Matadors could only take one point from a Furuta victory at second singles, and fell 6-1.

“I thought we should have won against Texas Tech,” coach Victor said. “But the younger players on the team may have been discouraged by some of the close losses.”

The Lady Matadors were swept in doubles play, and needed four wins in singles to take the win. Silvia Gutierrez lost a close third set and Krasinska also fell in three sets after moving up a spot to no. 5 in the absence of Koichumanova.

“I just did not feel right,” Gutierrez said. “I felt that I needed more practice, but (I) learned we can play well against good teams. If we practice harder, we can win the Big West Conference.”

On Sunday, CSUN played their last matches of the weekend against the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.

Northridge was again in the hole after losing the doubles point, and Oklahoma State finished off the Lady Matadors with wins at the top singles spot. Koichumanova returned to claim the only CSUN point in singles, with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Jessica Collins.

In doubles, Koichumanova teamed with Krasinska in a victory over Zana Masnic and Sandra Blajer, 8-3.

“Oklahoma State was just too good that day,” Victor said. “But I believe we are ready to make a breakthrough. We have not played any cupcakes and have not had any bad losses.”

Tulane defeated host UNLV 4-0 in the final match to claim the title. After sweeping CSUN on Friday, Tulane then knocked off 30-ranked New Mexico in a close 4-3 match.

The Lady Matadors return home to face UC Santa Barbara on Friday, March 4 in a Big West match that was originally postponed by rain. CSUN and UCSB will play at 1:30 p.m. at the Northridge Tennis Complex.

“Santa Barbara is a good team with no holes,” Victor said. “But I believe we should be really motivated. We have to work out the kinks and we have a great shot playing at home.”