by Chrissy Zehrbach
The University of La Verne women’s tennis team dropped two matches this week to Whitworth College and Biola University.
Tuesday afternoon, the Leopards took on Biola and gained only one win in the match for a final score of 8-1.
The Eagles dominated in doubles competition as ULV lost all three matches with scores of 8-2, 8-0 and 8-1.
“Doubles was tough as usual,” said assistant coach Brian Harrison.
In singles, the Leopards put forth a stronger effort, coming close to their opponent in three matches.
“Individually, we did pretty well,” Harrison said. “A few of our girls took girls out of their game.”
The Leopards’ only win in the match came from No. 3 Michelle Fontanez. Fontanez challenged her opponent in the first set, winning 7-5. She took control in the second set and defeated her opponent 6-2.
“I was just trying to stay calm, be more controlled and play my game,” Fontanez said.
Fontanez was the last match out on the court. She secured her win as her team sat by and cheered her on as the last rally ended with a wide shot from Biola.
“She came through and won her match,” Harrison said.
No. 2 Michelle Tang played a tough match. She lost the first set 7-6 after a 7-5 tie-breaking decision. The second set was a struggle as she was defeated 6-1.
No. 5 Desiree Whipperman also put forth a strong effort, but fell short in her match losing 6-3, 6-3.
“Desiree was consistent with good scores,” Harrison said.
Tuesday’s match was the second meeting for the two teams. The first match-up between ULV and Biola this season was Feb. 4. Biola was victorious in that contest, 9-0.
“They were overall good scores … better than the last time we played them,” Harrison said.
Saturday morning, the Leopards faced Whitworth and gained another 8-1 loss.
“Whitworth was a very strong team,” Fontanez said. “It was a tough match. We tried our best, and that’s all we could do.”
The closest doubles match was an 8-5 loss from No. 1 doubles team Paige Hanawalt and Lacy Cascadden.
Both of the other two doubles pairs dropped their matches, 8-2.
After sweeping the doubles matches, the Pirates gained wins in all but one singles match.
“We had some tough matches against them,” Harrison said.
No. 1 Cascadden earned the only win for the Leopards in the match. After losing the first set 6-3, Cascadden rallied back in the second set to split sets with a 6-1 win. A super tie-breaker was used to decide the match. Cascadden won the tie-breaker, 10-8, claiming the win.
No. 4 Hanawalt was defeated 7-5 in a strong first set, but could not recover in the second set as she fell short, 6-2.
No. 5 Whipperman lost her first set 7-6 after a close tie-breaker that ended 8-6. Her opponent kept her momentum going in the second set, gaining a 6-3 win to take the match.
“Both teams have players with a lot of playing experience,” Harrison said. “They have more of a mental edge because they’ve been in these situations before.”
The Leopards’ record is now 1-9, 1-4 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“Before the end of the season, everything will start to click,” Harrison said.
Concluding their eight-game homestand, the Leopards compete against the University of Redlands at 2 p.m., today and Occidental at noon, tomorrow at the Nancy Blickenstaff Tennis Pavilion.
Redlands and Occidental are 4-1 and 2-3 in SCIAC, respectively.