The La Verne women’s tennis team lost a heart breaker, 5-4, to Pomona-Pitzer on April 8, at the Nancy Blickenstaff Tennis Pavilion.
In the previous weeks, the Leopards have focused on doubles in practices, preparing for the tough weeks ahead.
“Sometimes we dedicate entire practices just to doubles,” head coach Brian Harrison said.
Tennis is an individual match and most people do not place much emphasis on doubles.
“Who ever goes into singles with the (doubles) win will usually get the win,” Harrison said.
Senior Michelle Fontanez plans to put heavy focus on her vollies for the doubles matches.
The team’s heavy doubles practice is due to the fact that Pomona-Pitzer has been known to play good doubles.
Going in prepared, La Verne was confident before the match.
“They’re about our level,” sophomore Jessica Baker said. “But I think we should be able to pull it off.”
Senior Lacy Cascadden and Baker were the lone Leopards who grabbed a win in doubles, coming out 8-3.
The Leopards took three out of the six singles matches with three of the women going into tie-breakers.
Cascadden was the last one on the court with her tie-breaking game being the deciding factor in the win or loss.
“I didn’t know that I was the deciding match,” Cascadden said. “That was probably a good thing.”
Despite Cascadden’s loss, the overall team missed some chances of their own.
“We had opportunities to win based on how the teams and each individual player matched up,” Harrison said.
La Verne failed to keep up in the end.
Seniors Michelle Tang, Fontanez and Natasha Badkoubei each brought La Verne wins in their singles matches.
Last Friday was also four of the Leopards last home games. Cascadden, Fontanez and Tang have played on the team for all four years while Chrissy Zehrbach was the new addition this season to the team. Harrison welcomed the women with flowers and balloons to celebrate.
“It’s just an awkward day,” Tang said.
The seniors had emotional reactions to their final home games.
“It’s kind of sad because tennis has been such a huge part of my life,” Cascadden said. “It’s always been a combination of both tennis and school and now they’re both coming to an end.”
On Saturday, the Leopards traveled to Cal Lutheran, where they lost, 7-2.
The hard-hitting fast paced duo, Baker and Cascadden, pulled off another great win, edging out the Regals 8-6.
“It was a huge win for Jess and I, especially after we beat the No. 1 doubles at Pomona-Pitzer because both teams are ranked,” Cascadden said.
Badkoubei distributed the only singles win for La Verne 6-3 and 6-4.
“Badkoubei won pretty easily in singles,” Harrison said.
Despite some strong performances, the Leopards suffered difficult losses to the Regals.
Tang and Fontanez lost a hard fought doubles match falling 8-4, while sophomore Katie Nash and Zehrbach got shutout by CLU, losing 8-0.
Today and tomorrow, the Leopards are participating in the two-day Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament in Claremont, starting at 9:30 a.m.
The Leopards will face harsh competition at the tournament, battling with familiar teams.
Despite a rocky season start, the team remains optimistic for the weekend’s competition and hopes to end the season strong.
“Overall we have a good opportunity to move up one spot, that would be a good way to end the season,” Harrison said. “It should be an interesting weekend.”
Sarah Weaver can be reached at email@example.com.