APU’s women’s tennis only dropped two matches in dominant performance on senior night
The Azusa Pacific women’s tennis team came into the match against Cal State Los Angeles on a five-match win streak, posting notable wins against Hawaii Pacific, who was ranked first in the nation at the time, Embry-Riddle, and Flagler. The Cougars defeated the Golden Eagles, 6-3 in their final home match of the regular season.
“Cal State L.A. is always tough. Even though they weren’t ranked this year, it’s one of those matches where, if you overlook it, you end up losing and you kick yourself. But our girls did a good job today. It wasn’t perfect tennis, but I was really happy that we pulled it out,” head coach Mark Bohren said.
The afternoon began with three doubles matches. Senior Toby Miclat and freshman Petra Ivankovic took the first match with an 8-0 victory over Amanda Schneider and Isabella Lopez. Although the Cougars dropped the second doubles match 8-1, freshman Courtney Paige and sophomore Mikayla Rinker finished the doubles’ portion of the afternoon with an 8-1 win of their own.
After the break, the top six for each team competed in singles matches. There was one change to the Azusa Pacific lineup, however. Ivankovic did not participate in singles matches, making way for Paige.
“Today my match was very good. I normally don’t play singles and today I got the opportunity to play and it was good to get out there and fight,” Paige said. “The girl I played was a good competitor, but today I feel like I played well and everything I did was correct, and in the end got the win.”
Along with Paige, four other Cougars got victories in their singles matches. Miclat, junior Kara Hinton and freshman April Wong each won in straight sets, while freshman Diana Baumgartnere took the win after her match ended in the second set due to injury.
“I feel like I could have played a lot better than I did, but it was also my first match back after being injured and not playing since HPU. I thought I played pretty well for just coming back,” Wong said.
As freshmen, Paige and Wong have been put in big-time situations already in their first year with Azusa Pacific. Against Hawaii Pacific, Paige played in a doubles match and Wong completed an important three-set victory in the upset over the Sharks. The two freshmen won all three of their combined matches against Cal State LA, which was an important match as the Cougars look to keep their spot atop the Western Region.
“Honestly, after fall season and practicing with everyone, I knew it was going to be so much fun playing with everyone,” Paige said. “It was also going to be tough day in and day out because spring season is just matches on matches. We’ve had to work hard, as we expected to, and it has really shown through our tennis.”
Wong noted the camaraderie found within the ranks and how that has helped her this season.
“We not only support each other on the court, but off the court too, so I think that helps a lot. I have been on a high school team before where they didn’t support each other at all, so coming to a team that does, I think it makes us work so much harder than we normally would,” Wong said.
From here, all eyes turn to San Diego, as the Cougars will head south to face both UC San Diego and Point Loma on April 13th and 14th. Azusa Pacific currently sits atop the west region and is ranked No. 10 in the nation, while UC San Diego are third in the region and Point Loma are fifth.
“It is a lot better going into those matches with the right mindset,” Bohren said. “It doesn’t mean we are going to win, but it at least gives us the confidence that if we play well we give ourselves a chance”