Junior Shweta Sangwan spent Friday night planning out her match. Come Saturday, the situation presented itself.
“Last night, before I went to bed, I envisioned myself clinching the match for us,” Sangwan said. “When I actually got the chance to go up, I was like, ‘wow, this might actually come true.’ I just did it.”
In its first home match since Jan. 19, Oregon women’s tennis defeated No. 23 Northwestern 4-3 after Sangwan’s thrilling three-set victory to earn the Ducks the upset win.
Head coach Alison Silverio was happy that Sangwan was put in that position thanks to wins by the two freshman, Julia Lilien and Paiton Wagner, and senior Alyssa Tobita.
“To see Shweta be able to step up in this situation,” Silverio said. “To have our freshman put her in that situation. To have [Tobita] our senior step up big in the third set. It was just a complete team effort and just proud of how our girls are doing.”
Lilien led the entire time defeating Rheeya Doshi 6-1, 6-3, which tied the match backup at one after Oregon dropped the doubles match 2-0.
Tobita won her match against No. 83 Lee Or 7-6, 3-6, 6-0 which brought the match back to 3-2 Northwestern. That win put Tobita alone for fifth all-time on Oregon’s career singles victories.
With the Ducks trailing 3-2, Wagner evened the score, winning her match against Caroline Pozo, after taking both dramatic sets 7-6, 7-5.
Wagner and Pozo were matching intensity every serve. Whoever won the point would let out a yell while the player who conceded the point, dropped their head and put their mind toward the next serve.
This put it on Sangwan’s shoulders to win her up-and-down match against Oregon native Erin Larner, who was part of the No. 1 doubles team that defeated Sangwan and Tobita earlier in the day.
After taking the first set 7-6 and then dropping the second 6-1, Sangwan trailed early in the deciding third set of the match. Sangwan had brought the score back to 5-4, then Larner stopped the match for a medical timeout because due to cramps in her legs.
During the timeout, Silverio came to Sangwan with words of wisdom.
“She said, ‘Just look at her, you’re breaking her down,’” Sangwan said. “At that point it gave me a chance to catch up. If I can come back from 5-2 down and four match points down, I’m just gonna go for it now. … [I] just did what coach told me every point.”
Sangwan won the match for herself and her team on a failed return by Larner, but the memory felt familiar.
“It was very similar to when we played Washington last year… I came back and won too.” Sangwan said. “This and that are probably the two biggest memories I have had in college as of now.”
The Ducks next play Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday Feb. 16.
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack