During the doubles matches on Sunday’s Oregon women’s tennis match, several men’s tennis players gathered around court No. 4 for senior Alyssa Tobita’s final doubles match on her home court.
With the players sarcastically cheering mistakes, Utah’s Taylor Calton had enough. The junior turned around, pointed directly at the three rows of bleachers and expressed her frustration with their comments. Tobita and Rifanty Kahfiani went on to win that match and claim the doubles point for the Ducks.
All went pretty much according to plan in a chippy match for No. 30 Oregon as the Ducks (14-8, 5-5) bested Utah (10-12, 1-8) 4-0 on Saturday at the Student Tennis Center in Eugene. Behind dominant doubles play and aggressive singles play, the Ducks managed to get the job done in under two-and-a-half hours as they honored Tobita and fellow senior Nia Rose.
“I think their legacy for sure is the start of the tradition of excellence that we have here and being a program to be reckoned with — top in the country,” head coach Alison Silverio said.
The Ducks took the doubles point quickly with wins from Tobita/Kahfiani (6-1) and Shweta Sangwan/Julia Eshet (6-1). Eshet returned to the court for singles in the No. 6 spot and once again got the job done in swift fashion, beating Victoria Robertson 6-0, 6-2 on court No. 3.
But the drama from doubles escalated when singles rolled around.
Calton moved to court No. 1 to take on Daniela Nasser, and the men’s players followed, and so did the sarcasm. Then, she exploded.
“Can someone kick them out?” Calton said, looking at several ITA umpires. Calton then used some colorful language and was backed up by Utah head coach Mat Iandolo, who came over to the edge of the court to talk to the players.
“Don’t be smug with me, male tennis players,” Iandolo said.
The players responded with, “We beat you yesterday,” referring to their 4-3 win over the Utes in Salt Lake City on Friday.
Calton lost both matches she played, falling to Nasser 6-3, 6-1.
With the Ducks getting the third point from Nasser to take it 3-0, Oregon was looking at a second clinch victory in a row. That’s when it fell to Tobita and Sangwan, who were neck-and-neck.
“I saw her deuce point,” Tobita said, recounting Sangwan’s deuce at 5-4. “We’ve had that a couple matches but that’s what we want. Although it’s competition between our teammates, it’s a good thing to have on the team.”
Tobita beat out Sangwan, who finished her match tied 5-5 in the second set, with Tobita going without losing a point in her final game.
Just how you’d want it scripted, Tobita, the Ducks only ranked singles player at No. 49, clinched the fourth team point, winning her match 7-5, 6-3.
“A lot of emotions, and it’s kind of cool that I got to clinch it for the team today,” Tobita said. “Just another happy ending I guess.”
Now, Tobita plans to pass the torch to Sangwan as the team’s leader.
“[Sangwan’s] had three amazing years of experience here and she’s been playing in the top three spots since she was a freshman,” Silverio said. “Alyssa has been a great example of what it means to take responsibility and ownership of that No. 1 spot.”
But before that happens, Tobita and the Ducks still have a job to do: finish the season with a successful Pac-12 Tournament.
“There’s another challenge ahead of us,” Silverio said. “We’re certainly going to celebrate the seniors today but we’ll be right back at it next week.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow