Tennis nears end of season with Big West losses

Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER
Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER

Coming off of a loss Saturday against UC Santa Barbara, the UC Riverside women’s tennis team (4-15, 0-6) was once again on the wrong side of a 7-0 sweep Wednesday, this time at the hands of No. 54 UC Irvine (14-8, 6-2). While the Anteaters continued their dominance on the road, putting their away record at a solid 5-1, the Highlanders continued to build upon a streak of their own, suffering their eighth-straight loss and sixth overall in conference play.

The day began poorly for the Highlanders when a dominant performance in doubles by the UCI women, in which they gave up a total of just four games, allowed them to take an early 1-0 lead. That momentum was then carried into singles play without much resistance from the Highlanders, who only managed to win 15 of the 87 singles games, making it 7-0 Irvine.

Off the heels of a 7-0 loss to No. 54 UC Irvine, the team suffered another sweep against a stiffer opponent in Long Beach State (14-5, 8-0) Thursday afternoon. The Highlanders’ record has now fallen to 4-16 and they remain winless in conference play. The team once again failed to put up much of a fight against a dominant opponent, only managing to win eight games combined through doubles and singles play. As the Highlanders’ losing streak continued, the Big West No. 1 Long Beach State continued its phenomenal play on the season, pushing its winning streak versus conference opponents to eight.

The Highlander women have now suffered nine losses in a row in what has been a very rough season for the team. The blue and gold didn’t earn a point against Cal Poly in a 4-0 loss in the team’s last regular season match on Sunday. The Highlanders’ record has now fallen to 4-17 and they remain winless in conference play.

No man or woman has been left unscathed when representing UC Riverside on the tennis court this week, with the Highlander men suffering a 7-0 sweep at the hands of UC Davis Saturday afternoon. While the victory helped UC Davis on its road to clinching its first-ever Big West title, for UCR it meant another loss to pile upon their conference-worst .176 win percentage on the season.

Riverside was actually able to pull out one win in doubles play, 6-3, but surrendered the first and last matches to Davis, putting the Aggies up 1-0. Singles was a straight sweep for Davis, but Riverside senior Sean Robles was able to push his match to three sets by taking the first set 6-4 before losing the final two — the highlight of the afternoon.

The team won its final game of the regular season, 4-2, on Sunday versus Hawaii, who was also looking to pull out its first win against a Big West opponent. It was the first conference win for the Highlanders since 2007 and moved the program to 4-15 on the season.

Both tennis programs will compete in the Big West Championships, which will be held in Indian Wells, Calif., from April 23-26.

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