Hornets’ women’s tennis crush No. 73 UC Santa Barbara 6-1

Patricia Carpenter

For the first time since 2012, the Sacramento State women’s tennis program has defeated two ranked opponents in a season. The Hornet’s 6-1 win today over No. 73 UC Santa Barbara (5-5) secured the feat for the squad and evened their overall record to 6-6.

Coach Dima Hrynashka was ecstatic about their progress this season and wants it to continue, so the program can earn a national ranking.

“I’m really proud of the women’s game today,” Hrynashka said. “They’ve played some of the best tennis I’ve seen in the past few years.”

Sophomore duo Deimante Bulatovaite and Alina Soltanici struck success for the Hornets early in the doubles portion of the contest with their quick 8-1 victory over the Gauchos’ Natalie Da Silveira and April Scatliffe. The sophomores moved up to position No. 1 (1-1) for this match and hold a 3-6 doubles record.

Bulatovaite spoke about the accomplishment of winning after her singles victory in position No. 3 for Sac State, which was the last match to conclude in their defeat.

“Alina and I started to play doubles together since we were like 16 years old, so we kind of feel each other,” Bulatovaite said. “Last year we played really well in doubles and this year we lost our confidence … doubles points are really important and I’m glad we won.”

In positions No. 2 and 3 the Hornets were down in their sets to the Gauchos and duo Ana Loaiza Esquivias and Daria Savchenko were outlasted by Melissa Baker and Luisa Ortiz Candido 6-8. This puts their No. 3 doubles mark at 3-4.

The decisive first point came down to junior Olivia Boija and redshirt freshman Tori Trylovich, who replaced Boija’s partner Jennifer Ong, where the duo rallied back from a 5-7 deficit to force Jaimee Gilbertson and Stacy Yam to a tiebreaker. After a long battle in their second set, the Hornets nabbed the tiebreaker and downed their opponents 8-7 (3).

Sac State was up 1-0 and earned its third doubles point of the season.

Boija spoke on the switching of doubles partners due to Ong sitting out with irritation in her right knee.

“It’s different to change doubles partners all of the time, but it’s fun as well,” Boija said. “You get to learn how to play different styles, but it was a great win for Tori and I. I’m happy she felt confident to play with me, because when you switch doubles partners it’s difficult, but we had good team spirit.”

Boija and Ong were 4-5 in doubles and Trylovich was 0-3 heading into today’s competition.

The women started off shaky in singles positions No. 2 with Anna-Maria Nau dropping her sets 1-6, 1-6, but Soltanici’s performance in No. 1 guided the team back on track, giving them the 2-1 lead.

Sac State’s No. 1 singles player downed UCSB’s Da Silveira 6-1, 7-6 (5). This puts the sophomore at 5-7.

After that win the team was in cruise control for the rest of the match. Only Boija and Bulatovaite dropped sets against the Gauchos. Boija finished 7-5, 3-6, 10-8 in a hard fought battle against Baker and Bulatovaite retired Scatliffe 4-6, 7-6 (3), 10-5.

Loaiza Esquivias had a commanding finish over UCSB’s Yam in No. 5 (7-5, 6-2) to put Sac State up 3-1. Her doubles partner Savchenko clinched the upset and ended her two-match losing streak with her 7-5, 6-3 triumph over Candido in singles No. 6.

The Hornets will head back on the road tomorrow for their fourth consecutive match against a ranked team. Sac State will be facing the No. 62 Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3). With the short rest, Hrynashka believes the women will be prepared to compete against another tough team.

“I know Fresno State team really well, they’re a very good team and they showed good results this season,” Hrynashka said. “If the women can play this same way tomorrow as they did today I think it will be a very good match. We’ll be ready to fight tomorrow.”