­Valentine’s Day heartbreak as women’s tennis falls to No. 65 Hawaii

Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER
Cameron Yong/HIGHLANDER

February 14, 2013
Warriors 5 – Highlanders 2

The losses continue to pile up for the UC Riverside women’s tennis team as it dropped a 5-2 decision to #65 ranked Hawai’i Thursday afternoon at Andulka Park.

Missing from the lineup again was junior Kat Saltarelli, whom coach Mark Henry believes plays a pivotal role on the team. When asked about what is needed to turn the team’s fortunes around, he said, “I think we need to get Kat Saltarelli back in the lineup. That would do more to help than anything else.”

All three matches saw close finishes in doubles action, but Hawai’i was able to pull out the win in all three to clinch the point. Hawai’i’s pairings of Katarina Poljakova/Xenia Suworowa, Paulina Petriskova/Rebecca Faltusz and Martina Kostalova/Kelsey Daguio defeated the Highlander parings of Jamie and Taylor Raney, Natalie McKay/Courtney Patugalan and Kate Bergeson/Thanh Doan 8-4, 9-8 and 8-4, respectively.

UC Riverside did not fare much better in singles play, only earning a win in two of six matches.

The number one match pitted Katarina Poljakova against Highlander Jamie Raney. Poljakova finished on top, 6-2 and 6-1 to give Hawaii its first singles point of the match.

At number two, Highlander Taylor Raney was able to avenge her doubles defeat and pull off a win over Suworowa 2-3 when she retired from an injury. The win gave the Highlanders their first singles point of the match.

At numbers three and four, Hawai’i earned two points to secure its victory as Kostalova beat McKay 6-1, 6-0, and Hawai’i Petriskova defeated Highlander Pattugalan 7-6 and 6-1.

UCR Bergeson took Hawai’i’s Dagui to a tiebreaking third match after splitting the first two matches 6-4, 4-6. The tiebreaker was hotly contested, but Bergesson was able to secure a point for UC Riverside and her first set victory of the season, winning 11-9.

In the final fixture, Hawai’i’s Faltusz defeated Riverside’s Doan, 6-1, 6-1.

Coach Mark Henry believes that the key to getting into the win column is “finish[ing] points more consistently. We’re doing a nice job setting things up but we haven’t finished like we need to.”

It will be a long nine days before the team will be able to seek retribution for their loss as they regroup for their road trip to San Diego. They will face Point Loma Nazarene on Feb. 23.

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