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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Hornets’ rackets create a racket for UC San Diego

Sac State’s vocal cheering and on court play drowned the Tritons
Adam Camarena
Sacramento State’s women’s tennis freshman Irene Riva celebrates a point in her doubles match against the UC San Diego Tritons on Thursday, March 28, 2024. The Hornets defeated the Tritons 4-0 in their match-up winning the doubles and the singles.

Sacramento State women’s tennis showed up in a dominating fashion against UC San Diego at the Sac State tennis courts for their second win in a row on Thursday, March 28.

The doubles point was secured with two matches won by the Hornets and the singles were taken with relative ease. Three matches were won, with another match a game away from being won.

The first doubles pairing to finish was junior Weronika Ejsmont and senior Best Lee, who beat the Tritons’ sophomore Grace Gamal and senior Ella Pachl, 6-4.

It was a close start with both teams winning two games. Sac State head coach Sophie Breault said she spoke to Ejsmont and Lee in between games and reminded them to stay focused and to stick to the game plan.

“I just told them to cover the line when you’re at the net and when you’re in the baseline,” Breault said. “Just go with a heavy spin over them so they can’t poachand if you stay two, three balls across you can poach yourself.”

Lee and Ejsmont followed their strategy and it wasn’t long until the Hornets got back on track and took the lead.

“The two games that we lost, we got tight,” Lee said. “We just tried to have more fun.”

Match point for the Hornets was won, with the Tritons returning the ball outside of the right baseline by Lee. As Lee saw the ball hit the ground she let out a ferocious scream and the first match of the day was won for the Hornets.

The scream was her natural reaction, but it hasn’t always been that way. Through leaning into that part of herself, she’s found how important it is to be vocal on the court.

“It’s annoying to them, but it’s also making motivation to yourself,” Lee said.

Lee said the screaming would help her focus on her game and help her build momentum throughout the course of her match.

The next to finish was co-captain senior Maddy Ferreros and the reigning Big Sky player of the week, freshman Irene Riva.

Ferreros and Riva started their doubles off hot with a 2-1 game lead, but the Tritons put up a fight and tied the game 4-4.

“In the beginning, one of the girls took over the net really well and that kind of put pressure on us, so we had to do something different,” Ferreros said. “So we incorporated lobs and using angles.”

The Hornets got up 6-5 and were on the verge of winning the doubles match. Riva was up for the task and delivered an unforgettable moment for her partner.

“I remember Irene hit a very shallow return, I came in and then I can pretty much see on their faces, it was over,” Ferreros said. “They weren’t ready.”

RELATED: Sac State women’s tennis rallies in singles for eighth straight win

The Hornets breezed through the singles matches, when Ferreros finished first and redshirt freshman Lou Baudouin and freshman Elena Mercioiu won their sets to win the match.

Ferreros said she grew up playing against Pachl and already knew a variety of ways to lean the game in her favor.

“I know I was more mentally tough, so that’s why I used longer rallies in the beginning because I knew she didn’t want to stay as long out there as I did,” Ferreros said.

Ferreros said that a great method to distract your opponent is for fans to cheer.

“I knew it would mess with her, but I didn’t say anything, but my co-captain Mayya kind of saw she didn’t like the outside noise, so she started cheering a lot louder,” Ferreros said.

Ferreros ended up winning the match 6-2 and 6-1.

The next Hornet to finish her match was Baudouin against Gamal. Baudouin didn’t play last season or practice in the fall because of a torn ACL, but you wouldn’t have known as she tore her way through the first set, 6-3.

“She came back this year and has been dominating, even though she didn’t play the fall at all,” Breault said.

Baudouin won her second set, 6-2 with a shallow hit over the net, causing Gamal to react quickly and hit it right into the net.

Mercioiu won the Hornets final match. Taking their first set against Triton’s junior Kelly Leung, 6-1. The second set was won 6-2 after a long volley hit by Leung landed just outside of the back baseline to secure the win for Mercioiu and The Hornets.

The Hornets have a 13-4 record and are 3-0 in conference play. The team remains focused on their next conference match against Montana on Friday, April 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Missoula, Montana.

“We still work hard every day to improve and get better, so you always look for the next match and that’s it,” Breault said.

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About the Contributor
Ryan Lorenz
Ryan Lorenz, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Ryan Lorenz is in his second semester at The State Hornet. He is a former Sports Editor for Cosumnes River College's publication, The Connection. He has a strong passion for sports and plans on having a career in sports media.
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