Despite close victories being the norm at the Student Tennis Center, the No. 22 Oregon women’s tennis team had no problem securing the victory today, winning 5-2 over Fresno State. This marks the fourth straight win for the Ducks heading into Pac-12 play.
Oregon led early, winning the doubles point after Alyssa Tobita and Rifanty Kahfiani defeated Juliane Triebe and Olivia Noble 6-2, and the partnership of Nia Rose and Paiton Wagner defeated Katerina Stloukalova and Abbey Watanabe 6-2.
This left the 5-3 lead that Shweta Sangwan and Julia Eshet had over the No. 49 doubles pair of Emma Wilson and Georgia Lawson unfinished.
Kahfiani and Tobita have now won three straight since reuniting as partners, making them an important piece in head coach Alison Silverio’s game plan. The two are 4-1 on the season thanks to similar style in play.
“We both come in a lot to the net and play aggressive,” Kahfiani said.
Rose and Kahfiani might have been done playing, but their job was not done as they began to cheer on their teammates.
“It is very important for us to get the energy going,” Kahfiani said. “It doesn’t matter what the score is. We are always cheering 100% for our teammates.”
That added intensity showed as the Ducks took early leads on five of the six courts. Eshet got the scoring started in singles play, defeating Ndindi Ndunda 6-1, 6-2 followed by Tobita finishing off Stloukalova 6-3, 6-2.
This put the Ducks one win away from victory and a race between Daniela Nasser and Sangwan to see who could close out the match.
After going down 2-0, Nasser won 12 of the next 13 points to earn the victory for the Ducks.
“It was fun to see her allow herself to play and let those instincts come out,” Silverio said. “That’s what I am most proud of.
Nasser now has 10 wins on the season and has been working on getting forward more to capitalize on points she was dropping earlier.
“I came out a little bit tentative,” Nasser said. “After awhile, I finally did what I intended to do when I got out there. It was kinda focusing not on the score, but focusing on letting it go, coming forward and not caring what the score is and just focusing on the point and doing what I should be doing.”
Despite the result of the match determined, it was not over.
Sangwan quickly ended her match, bringing her win streak to four and the Ducks lead to five.
This left Paiton Wagner and Julia Lilien’s matches as the only two left, which created two cheering sections of players at the individual courts. Despite both Ducks dropping their matches, the energy was always high.
“We know energy works for us,” Nasser said. “It doesn’t matter what the score is. This is our house so we don’t want to lose any matches here. We all want to win and hate to lose.”
The Ducks have indeed protected “their house” winning all five home matches in nonconference play.
Oregon will now look to Pac-12 play, hosting Washington this Friday, March 9, at 1:30 p.m.
“It’s our first conference match and Washington is always a battle,” Silverio said. “My three years I have been here now, it has come down to the wire. I think that makes it exciting and we are ready for it.”
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