at the Poulson Tennis Center, the California Lutheran University women’s tennis team struggled and fell to nationally ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by a score of 9-0. The match marked the opening of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play for both teams.
After defeating Ventura College 9-0 in impressive fashion to begin the season, the Regals knew their SCIAC opener would be a much tougher task. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps stepped onto the courts as one of the top ranked teams in the nation.
The Regals held their own early on in doubles. Junior Emily Werman and sophomore Gianna Cupo both won their first service games before losing their No. 1 doubles match 8-3 to Caroline Ward and Katie Kuosman of CMS.
“As a team, our strategy was to go out there and give it 100 percent and have no regrets at the end of the day,” Werman said. “I went into doubles gave it my all and I felt like I played really well along with my partner Gianna.”
The freshmen duo of Sarah Seeman and Christie Kurdys lost their No. 2 doubles match 8-1 to Lindsay Brown and Kyla Scott, while the No. 3 pairing of junior Shelby Kubota and sophomore Annette Sousa lost 8-3 to Lauren Livingston and Bria Smith.
Despite a piercing wind overhead for much of doubles play, the Regals did not use it as an excuse. Instead the team managed to adjust their games to better deal with the windy conditions.
“I just try to hit more up the middle and use more spin,” said Seeman, who made her SCIAC debut.
On the singles side, the Regals returned rally, but lost all six of their matches in straight sets. No. 1 singles player Gianna Cupo battled tough in her first set, winning the first game, but ultimately lost to Caroline Ward 6-4, 6-1. No. 2 singles player Sarah Seeman lost 6-1, 6-1 to Katie Kuosman. No. 3 singles player Emily Werman showed some life late in her match, only to be defeated 6-1, 6-3 by Lindsay Brown.
Christie Kurdys, who was also making her SCIAC debut, perhaps had the match of the day. In an effort that nearly put Cal Lutheran on the score sheet, Kurdys lost two tightly competitive sets by a score of 6-4, 6-4.
No. 3 singles player Emily Werman sees this experience against an elite team as something she and the team can learn from and use to their benefit.
“[CMS] is really tough. They get lots of balls back and they place the ball very well,” Werman said. “We now know what we are going to be up against in SCIAC.”
Although the Regals did not end the day with the results they were hoping for, Head Coach Vanessa McPadden was pleased with the way her team competed.
“The effort was excellent, we just came up a bit short,” said McPadden, who is heading into her sixth season at the helm of the women’s tennis program. “Claremont is top 5 in the nation, we just wanted to make them play and stay aggressive.”
The Regals will continue building toward the future as the team moves deeper into conference play. McPadden is confident her team will not get overwhelmed by an early season loss.
“We don’t have to be perfect,” McPadden said. “We’re taking it one match at a time.”
Cal Lutheran (1-1, 0-1 SCIAC) will look to get back into its winning ways when hosting Caltech on Feb. 12 at 3 p.m.
Published February 10th, 2016