Oregon women’s tennis falls to No. 20 UCLA 4-1
After the Oregon women’s tennis team booted Washington from the top-25 ITA rankings in an upset victory last weekend, the Ducks had a hard task ahead of them as they faced No. 20 UCLA, the first of the California schools in their Pac-12 schedule, on Friday afternoon at the UO Student Tennis Center.
The Bruins, who boasted two ranked individuals, ultimately proved too hardy for them, taking the Ducks down 4-1. The Bruins swept the doubles matches easily in 6-1 and 6-2. Oregon duo Alyssa Tobita and Shweta Sangwan were tied with their rivals in 4-4, but were unable to finish their match.
In the singles, Oregon scored their lone victory as Daniela Nasser’s opponent retired early due to an upper respiratory virus. UCLA, however, nailed three other victories to earn the win of the day.
The Ducks’s record is 8-6 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
“They punched us in the face a bit with their rackets,” Oregon head coach Alison Silverio said. “We didn’t as a team come back after them and attack. That’s something we’ve been focusing on, attacking when we feel that there’s resistance and feel our opponents coming on us. Today, that’s where I felt as a team, we didn’t do a good enough job.”
Even though UCLA is ranked 15 positions above Oregon, they were still wary of their opponents after Oregon upstaged Washington.
“Coming into this match, we knew that Oregon had a great win against Washington,” UCLA head coach Stella Webster said. “Playing indoors, it’s very loud. We knew that they were gonna be very feisty. I really like their team’s energy and how they came out. It’s always harder to play away than it is where we’re comfortable, especially outside in our sunny California weather.”
Highlighting the match was the close showdown between Sangwan and UCLA’s top bullet, No.3 Ena Shibahara. Though Shibahara had the edge over Sangwan in 5-2, Sangwan launched a comeback that led to a shootout as they tied in 6-6.
“I really wanted to win,” Sangwan said. “I knew I had to take my chances if we wanted to go head-to-head against them. You have to have a consistent mindset no matter if they’re good or bad. I didn’t play her. I just played the ball.”
In the middle of the first set, Sangwan got into a disagreement with the referee about Shibahara celebrating too early. The referee awarded the point to Shibahara anyway.
“You can’t say, “come on” before I get to the ball,” Sangwan said. “But I overcame that setback.”
Sangwan eventually won the first set in 7-6, but by then, UCLA already had the match in the bag as they scored wins on the other courts.
“It would have been great to see her finish that match,” Silverio said.
Oregon will play one more home match against USC on Sunday afternoon at noon.
Follow Romaine Soh on Twitter @mainetainpls
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