Ducks struggle in conference play over tough two weekends
After a convincing start to its conference season, Oregon women’s tennis has been unable to find stable footing as of late.
The Ducks have lost their last three matches over the past two weekends, dropping their Pac-12 record to an even 3-3.
Each of the Ducks’ conference losses were against top-35 ranked teams, including No. 19 Arizona State, which is on a six-match winning streak.
Despite the difficulty within the conference, Oregon lost by a point in two of its losses. Before this difficult streak, the Ducks were gaining momentum, taking down No. 64 Arizona and No. 49 Washington.
The trouble for Oregon in its past matches has come not as a result of lack of players or ability, but in securing the first point of the match.
In tennis matches, the teams start with three doubles matches before heading into singles play. In two of their past three matches, the Ducks have failed to secure the doubles point.
Although doubles play only earns a single point, the momentum gained from a doubles point win can be enough to propel a team to a win. This is especially true if a player faces an opponent in singles play that she has already defeated in doubles.
Before the losing streak, Oregon’s doubles teams were thriving. Newcomers Shweta Sangwan and Kennan Johnson bested the No. 18-ranked doubles team from UC Santa Barbara and secured the No. 33 ranking as a team.
Although the rank put the doubles team on the map as one to watch, Johnson said “it’s not about rankings,” in an interview with GoDucks.com. “We just come out here, do what we do, and we have a good time.”
Oregon will have its chance to bounce back this weekend, when it takes on No. 1 Cal and No. 20 Stanford. The Ducks will return home the following weekend against Colorado on April 8.
Follow Madison Layton on Twitter @MadisonLayton01
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