Stopping a skid: Women end losing streak
When it comes to Oregon tennis, this season has been a tale of two teams. While the men (11-6, 0-3) have met expectations for the most part, the women (6-12, 0-4) suffered an 11-match losing streak before finally defeating Montana State on March 27.
“It just to the point where we lost so much, it was really rough on us,” head coach Paul Reber said. “But we played Montana State over the weekend and beat them, so that was good just to get a win.”
As is often the case, the streak looks worse on paper than it truly was. Three of the losses were of the 4-3 variety, and the Ducks could have broken the streak much earlier had a few more things gone their way.
“In the start (of the streak), we had a lot of 4-3 losses,” freshman Julia Metzger said. “Which is really tough because we were right with them up until the last five minutes where a match went the wrong way.”
Still, the women are not making excuses, and they know they will have to improve their play dramatically down the stretch.
“We have a long way to go if we want to still make the tournament,” Metzger said. “But anything’s possible, and with our work ethic and the way we believe in each other, we could definitely do it.”
Even if the Ducks fail to qualify for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season, they can rest assured knowing their future is bright.
“For the future of this team, and the future of this program, this is going to be a year we look back on and say we got a lot out of it,” Reber said.
Though the men are on a three-match losing streak of their own, the tone of their season has been entirely different.
“We’ve been playing really well,” head coach Nils Schyllander said. “We’ve been in the rankings here for a month now, we’ve got a singles player ranked, a doubles team ranked. I think we’ve won the matches we’re supposed to win, we just haven’t pulled off the big upset yet.”
The 67th-ranked Ducks stuck with both No. 5 USC and No. 12 UCLA last weekend, though the 7-0 scores don’t show that.
“Even though we lost 7-0 to UCLA, you look at the box score it was a very close match,” Schyllander said. “We were right there. USC and UCLA are two teams you’ll probably see in the Final Four, and we’re there.”
The players seem to agree wholeheartedly with Schyllander’s assessment.
“We were there, we were there,” said sophomore Jose Izquierdo. “We lost against two really good teams, but we saw really good things in those matches, good things in general for the whole team.”
So what do the Ducks need to do to get over that hump, and beat a team like Arizona or Washington? According to Izquierdo, the answer is simple.
“Just keep practicing hard, believe in ourselves, believe in our game, and win those matches,” Izquierdo said. “Because those guys are exactly the same as us, they are practicing just like us.”
It may sound simple, but the players seem to truly believe they can play with the best. Their resolve will be tested once again when they travel to the desert this weekend to face off with Northern Arizona and Arizona.
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