Women’s tennis team keeps winning

STAR // Connor Gibson

Sophomore Karlee Budge, who won both her matchups, returns a shot.

This weekend not only brought great weather, but a weekend dominated by the Sonoma State University women’s tennis team. It began Thursday morning at the Sonoma State tennis courts where the women played against Dixie State. They would then have a day of practice to prepare for Saturday’s match against UC San Diego – who are ranked 17th in the nation. From there they would play against CSU Stanislaus on Sunday.

The girls started off their streak of victory by defeating Dixie State University on Thursday. With the doubles teams sweeping Dixie, it meant that they only needed two more wins to achieve an overall win to defeat Dixie State University.

As the No. 2 (Kaitlyn Haithcock and Jordyn Kearney) and No. 3 (Karlee Budge and Hillary Fazekas) doubles teams were capable of finishing of their opponent nice and easy, the No. 1 doubles team (Leire Martinez and Jacquelyn Ward) found themselves in quite a bit of trouble. As volleys were placed immaculately by Dixie, it became a tough match for Sonoma State. Fortunately, Martinez and Ward were able to come together as the team they are and find a way out of their tough situation with Martinez’s placement of cross-volleys and Ward’s execution of overheads. 

The day began with the doubles matches and ended with the singles matches, with a small break and warm-up in between. With wins by L. Martinez (No. 1), J. Kearney (No. 3), K. Budge (No. 4), J. Ward (No. 5) and Julie Rea (No.6) as well as a loss by K. Haithcock (No. 2) it sealed the overall score for the Seawolves against Dixie State (8-1).

UC San Diego, ranked No. 17 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, was hosted by Sonoma State on Saturday morning. As each girl took their rightful place on their designated court, everyone knew it was going to be an intense game. 

To start off the morning, SSU’s No. 2 doubles team, who consisted of Haithcock and Kearney, were the only team to come out with a win, putting the Tritons in the lead with an overall score of 1-2.

Once the girls took to their respective courts and practiced their swings, no one knew what was about to transpire. Leire Martinez would be the first one to bring in a victory as her opponent was forced into leaving the match due to a troublesome injury. With a tied score and five matches left it seemed that it could be anyones game. That is until Haithcock (No. 3) was defeated by Britta Mosser, leaving the Tritons to take the lead by one yet again. Yet, Fazekas (6-2, 2-6, 6-4) and Budge (6-2, 2-6, 6-2) would be able to push the Seawolves into the lead once again (4-3).

It was in this moment that No. 5 singles player J. Ward would lose her footing and begin to slip. As she began her match with a 6-1 win in her first set, and a loss of 4-6 in her second, she knew she had to up her game. With a 5-0 lead into her third and final set, Ward and the crowd would begin to watch her crumble. As serves began to weaken and shots that were being taken flew out, her opponent was given the chance to make a comeback: which she did. Ward’s 5-0 lead soon turned into a tie. 

Yet, with a little help from her teammate’s, coach’s and crowd’s belief in her Ward gathered up her strength and Seawolf pride and came out with a win in a final set score of 7-5. 

“I try to teach them how to find some level of intensity or gears in yourself when things are not going well, and today showed our mental work” said Head Coach Joaquin Lopez when discussing how he helps his girls get out of their heads and stay focused on the match at hand, which proved to be beneficial to Ward.

With Ward’s win, it meant that Sonoma State beat UC San Diego – which has only been done twice in the past two years. It would be Kearney to make this win that much sweeter, as she too won her singles match with a score of 6-4, 4-6, 10-8.

“I’m proud of what we did, we had to work really hard to get here and I am just so proud of them,” said Lopez once the score for UC San Diego was finalized.

This win against San Diego not only meant a lot to the girls, because Sonoma State had not beat UC San Diego in the past two years, but because their winning streak of five games has given them a 13-6 record for the season.

After a win on Saturday against UC San Diego the women’s tennis team knew that Stanislaus was still another challenge to overcome. Seeing as how this was the last home match for the season, the girls wanted nothing more than to go out with a win.

Starting the day off right was Head Coach Joaquin Lopez as he said a couple words about his lone Senior Leire Martinez. 

“Generous, kind, honest, funny and mature,” were the words spoken by her team as they all celebrate her last home game. From there, the doubles matches would begin.

As Sonoma State swept for a second time this weekend in doubles, Martinez would also be the first one done with a singles match giving the Seawolves a four-game lead. Following suit would be No. 4 Budge (6-0, 6-0), No. 3 Kearney (6-1, 6-1), No. 4 Fazekas (6-0, 6-3) and Rea (6-4, 6-2). With only one loss for the day by the No. 2 singles Haithcock – who struggled, but refused to give up.

“Even with the match we lost, it was still really inspirational to watch,” said Lopez. 

Inspirational it was, Haithcock refused to back down until the match was over. Although she did not come out victorious, she fought long and hard and showed everyone watching what it means to be a true Seawolf. 

As for the next match the Seawolves will be heading to UC Davis on Friday in hopes of extending their six-game winning streak, as well as their season record.