Women’s tennis defeats UC San Diego 4-2 and Point Loma 4-1 to begin season at 2-1

Following a disappointing 4-3 loss to the fourth ranked Hawai’i Pacific in their season opener, Azusa Pacific’s womens tennis team travelled to San Diego to face the 18th ranked UC San Diego (UCSD) Tritons and the 21st ranked Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) Sea Lions.

On Friday, Feb. 8, the Cougars conquered the Tritons 4-2. The match began with dominant play from APU in the doubles portion, as sophomore Petra Ivankovic and freshman Audrey Stewart defeated UCSD’s Shweta Kumar and Chloe Wright 6-3 in the third spot. The point was finalized with a competitive 7-5 win in the second spot from junior Anna Savchenko and sophomore April Wong.

Entering the singles portion with a 1-0 lead, the Cougars continued to stride towards victory. Sophomore Jacky Wagner made quick work of Kumar in the fourth singles spot, winning her two sets 6-1 and 6-2. UCSD immediately answered back in the second spot, as senior captain Kara Hinton dropped her match to Alexandra Weil by a score of 6-1, 6-4, which cut APU’s lead to just one point.

UCSD eventually tied the score 2-2 through the sixth singles spot, but the Cougars responded quickly, as Ivankovic defeated Ashley Chao 6-2, 6-2 in the number one spot to give APU the lead. The 4-2 victory was solidified by April Wong’s 6-3, 6-1 triumph in the fifth spot.

“It’s the beginning of the season, and with the crazy weather recently it’s been difficult to adjust. So I’m incredibly happy with the win,” said head coach Mark Bohren.

The Cougars couldn’t celebrate the victory for long, as the following day they had to face another nationally ranked opponent in PLNU. This match-up began with single matches. Doubles competition was unnecessary, since APU scored enough points in singles. This rarity didn’t distract APU from playing efficiently.

The Cougars gained an early 1-0 lead as Wagner again won her match in the fourth spot. APU never relinquished their lead. Ivankovic was victorious in two sets again, Wong battled through a three set match to collect the third point, and Hinton redeemed her loss from Friday in two sets to give the Cougars the 4-1 win.

“Everyone pulled their weight,” Bohren said. “Although Petra played extremely well and our senior Kara was able to clinch it, no individual was completely dominant. It was one hundred percent a team effort.”

Historically, APU has struggled to be victorious against these consecutive San Diego opponents on the road. The team hadn’t swept this annual away series since 2014.

“This is such a solid win. Since my freshman year we have never been able to have a complete sweep in San Diego, so getting this win at Point Loma was huge,” Hinton said. “We knew how bad we wanted to win this match, so there was definitely a sense of urgency.”

Following these impressive wins, the women’s tennis team will continue their season on Wednesday, Feb. 9 with another away meeting against Cal State Fullerton (2-2). Bohren said he hopes the ladies will use these victories as a momentum builder for the upcoming contest and continue to build on what hopes to be an impressive season.