Shweta Sangwan couldn’t find a rhythm in the first set of her singles match. She dropped the first three games of the set and lost 6-2.
Then, second-year assistant coach Elizabeth Lumpkin Robinson stepped in.
“I don’t know what Elizabeth told her but it must’ve been something good because it got her going,” first-year head coach Courtney Nagle said. “Shweta’s an ultimate competitor, so when it comes down to it, she's going to get up for the battle and she definitely did that today.”
Sangwan went on to come back and win 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to clinch Oregon’s fourth match point of Friday’s 5-2 win over St. Mary’s at the Oregon student tennis center. Behind Sangwan’s leadership, the Ducks improve to 2-2 on the season and 2-0 at home with just six healthy players.
“I was fighting myself a little,” Sangwan said. “You’ve got to stay in it, you’ve got to fight. That was my mentality. I don’t care if I lose or win but once I walk out of here I should not be able to walk — I’ve got to fight that hard.”
Oregon won the doubles point in two matches. Top pair Sangwan and Rifanty Kahfiani dominated in a 6-1 win while Oregon tested out two new pairings of freshman Allison Mulville and walk-on Taryn Fujimori and Paiton Wagner and Daniela Nasser. Wagner and Nasser clinched the doubles point with a 6-4 win on a break point as Mulville and Fujimori were two points away from taking their match 6-4.
“It’s so early in the season we haven't been able to see all of the combinations,” Nagle said. “We just decided to switch things up to give it a different look and they came out extremely well today.”
Nasser has been dealing with a nagging injury on her right wrist/hand. Fortunately for her, she’s a lefty, but she struggled with her toss and occasionally on the backhand. In Nasser’s doubles match, she and Wagner won three breaks but surrendered two while Nasser had a break-filled singles match that ultimately ended in a 10-point tiebreaker with the third set tied 1-1.
Nasser held a dominant 8-2 lead in the tiebreaker but her opponent, Clementine Clement, fought back to bring it to 8-8 before Clement took the 12-10 win over Nasser.
“When she got up 8-2 she was playing a little bit more aggressive and more free and it put a lot of pressure on her opponent,” Nagle said. “She hit a point in that tiebreaker where she kind of backed off and that was the difference.”
Mulville, Rhafiani and Wagner each won their singles matches while Fujimori lost her match 6-1, 6-0. Wagner’s win came after Sangwan’s clincher.
After Sangwan had won her match she led the team’s chants to inspire her teammates. When talking about the team spirit, the senior got emotional.
“Competing when I compete, I love this,” she said. “That’s it. Love it.”
Sangwan and the Ducks take on Fresno State at home on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow