CSUN’s women’s tennis team (8-12, 3-5) will finish the regular season today at 1:30 p.m. at the Northridge Tennis Complex against the Loyola Marymount Lions (8-13, 3-2).
“We have exceeded some goals and fell short on others because of the health of our squad after losing our number one and two players from last year to injury,” said head coach Gary Victor.
Our top four players have really carried us this season: Silvia Gutierrez, Canna Furuta, Kanykey Koichumanova, and YuYu Myinttun.”
Junior Olga Yepremian and sophomore Ana Matijasevic were both injured this season. Yepremian suffered a back injury, while Matijasevic has been slow to return to the court after tearing her ACL last March.
“This match (against LMU) is a good prep match for next week’s conference tournament to make us more match-ready (and) to test ourselves against a good team,” Victor said.
“I figure we will be seeded sixth in the tournament out of 11 teams in the conference.”
Two years ago, LMU came into Northridge and the Lady Matadors beat them 6-1. However, last year the Matadors traveled to LMU and were beaten 7-0. Last year’s loss came after the Matadors were ravaged by injuries and shortly after graduation ceremonies.
Matador freshman Koichumanova, who has been dealing with the political unrest in her homeland, Kyrgystan, and for a short time was even unable to contact her family, leads the team in wins.
“It’s been hard for me to be here mentally,” Koichumanova said. “But the main goal for me is to believe in myself that I can do it and move forward. I was worried about my family (because) they could not call me for a while and I could not reach them. It made it hard to practice, so I would find myself thinking of them. But they are safe now, so I am happy.”
Victor hopes the team can build on the momentum from playing Pacific so close along with winning four of their last six games.
“Our goal is to graduate our players and help them become better people, and always (to) win our conference,” Victor said. “We hope to get healthy, continue to work hard, and we should not only have a chance at winning the conference this year, but also winning it for years to come.”
“We’re not far away, we (only) lost 3-4 to Pacific (16-4) here in Northridge the number one team in the Big West,” Victor said.
The Matadors have a record of 7-6 at home, including wins over nationally ranked North Carolina State 4-3 on March 8 and smashing UC Davis 7-0 last week. The downside is the Matadors suffered four of the six loses at home by a score of 4-3.
“We’ve been running hills and sprints to get used to the hot weather we will be playing in at the (Big West) Tournament,” said team captain YuYu Myinttun.
“I think we have more talent than previous years so I think we will beat LMU. They are more baseliners than net players.”
The match against LMU has been the Matadors’ last game of the regular season the past few years. It is the final non-conference match, before play starts in the Big West Tournament, being held in Indian Wells on April 21.