Pilots, Eagles, Vikings fall victim to all-conquering Ducks
In the week of practice leading up to this weekend, the excitement was palpable amongst the women’s tennis players. Judging by the smiles on their faces on Sunday, the opening of dual match season proved to be a success, as the Ducks defeated Portland 6-1 on Friday and both Eastern Washington and Portland State 7-0 on Sunday.
“So far, so good,” head coach Paul Reber said. “Our match Friday was very good, saw a lot of good things from the kids. The scores this year were much more convincing than last year. It’s good to see that we can pick up even a step ahead of where we left off last year.”
Oregon took care of business rather easily against Eastern Washington on Sunday. The team won all six of its singles matches, and junior Pavlina Smatova did not lose a single game against her opponent.
“We played really solidly,” freshman Julia Metzger said. “We all came out really energized … Everybody played really hard, so I was happy.”
For her part, Metzger won both her singles and doubles matches rather convincingly. She defeated senior Marie Demerath 6-1, 6-0, and teamed up with sophomore Trudie du Toit to rout Demerath and freshman Kelsey Knight 8-0 in doubles play. Metzger has now won five straight matches, and was pleased with her performance.
“I came to the net a lot more,” Metzger said. “That’s what I talked to my coaches about for this match, to just focus on being aggressive and coming in as much as I can. I took a lot of balls out of the air, and felt really good with it.”
Just about the only blemish on the match with Eastern Washington was a doubles loss. Oregon’s number two doubles team, consisting of du Toit and freshman Sabine Fuchs, lost 8-6 to freshman Chelsea Patton and sophomore Caitlin Bampton.
“They let it get away from themselves,” Reber said. “They started thinking about things a little too much rather than just going out and playing tennis. When we start thinking and worrying about things outside of our control, that’s when (we) get in trouble.”
The Ducks were dominant on Friday as well, as they defeated Portland 6-1. The team swept doubles play and lost only one singles match.
Smatova’s singles match was cut short when Portland’s junior Lacey Pflibsen suffered a back injury and was forced to default. Oregon freshman Patricia Skowronski, meanwhile, lost a heart-wrenching match to junior Stephanie Fuchs by a score of 6-4, 3-6, 12-10. It was the first dual match for Skowronski, who joined the team earlier this month.
“That was Patricia’s first dual match,” Smatova said. “She’s been here for three weeks, and it’s a new atmosphere for her … she’s a really good player, and next time she’ll get the win.”
Reber agreed wholeheartedly, preferring to look at the positive sides of the loss.
“I think we saw a lot of good things from her,” Reber said. “I’m not worried at all about the loss that she took here, I think she’s going to end up being a very, very good player for us in the future.”
It is a future that is looking bright for a young Ducks team. Each and every player is genuinely happy to be on the court, and that was apparent in their play this weekend.
“It’s an awesome feeling to start out like this,” Metzger said. “It makes me so much more excited about college tennis, and it’s so much different than juniors, it just pumps me up.”
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’ve got to play pretty well to beat teams that badly,” Reber said. “I think we did, we played really solid, did a lot of things that we talked about in practice, so that was really good to see.”
The women’s team also beat Portland State 7-0 on Sunday evening. Next up for the Ducks is a match with Sacramento State at home on Feb. 5.
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