Women’s tennis place third in PacWest, highest finish since 1996

Sonoma State’s nationally ranked women’s tennis team served up aces this season, closing their historic stretch by placing third in the Pacific West Conference Championships for the first time in Seawolf history. 

After beating Cal State L.A. on Saturday, the ladies locked in third place in the 2016 PacWest Women’s Tennis Championships in Surprise, Az. The women finished off the season with a 17-7 record, the third-most wins in the history of the program.

The quarterfinal competition began Thursday in the scorching Arizona heat against the No. 14 ranked Azusa Pacific. The Seawolves started off the game with a 9-7 victory in doubles play thanks to partners Amanda Zuidema and Hillary Fazekas. 

Jordyn Kearney defeated her opponent 6-2, 7-5 to tie up the match at 3-3 and Zuidema rallied to get 6-3 and 6-2 wins, which tied it at 4-4. 

After several hours of a tiring, back-and-forth battle in the rising temperatures, the Seawolves came out on top with a 5-4 victory against the Cougars. After falling behind by a set, freshman Jensyn Warren took the next two from her 18-ranked opponent, sealing the quarterfinal victory.

“Words can’t describe how amazing it was to beat Azusa for the first time,” said Warren. “They are an amazing team and Sonoma State made history by beating them.” 

After losing 5-0 to No. 9 Hawaii Pacific the following day in the PacWest semifinals, the Seawolves continued on to play Saturday’s third place match against Cal State L.A. 

After taking a 2-1 lead in the doubles matches, the Seawolves closed out the PacWest Championships with a 5-2 victory over the Golden Eagles. Warren, Kearney and Zuidema all contributed straight set wins to help with the defeat. 

“Each match we aim to play with everything we have in our own game styles,” said Kearney. “We always fight to the end and have faith that things will go our way.”

The day began with an 8-3 loss in doubles for Zuidema and Hillary Fazekas. However, Long and Kaitlyn Haithcock turned it around by beating their opponents 8-4. Warren and Kearney took part in a battle for the win in their doubles match and came out on top 9-8. 

Continuing the success for the ladies team in singles, Zuidema and Kearney both walked away with wins, setting the score at 4-1. Warren then secured the Seawolves’ third-place title by defeating her 37-ranked opponent in two sets 6-4, 6-4. 

“All of us wanted to end season on a great note, and we definitely made it happen,” said Kearney. “I feel just so excited and happy how we ended, and blessed to call this my team. We manage to have so much fun with every possible moment together.”

The women entered the week at the No. 6 seed and ranked 24 in the nation and ended with the highest finish in the tournament since joining PacWest three years ago.