Aztec women’s tennis hosts first home event of the year, ending with two fourth place finishes

Tamara+Arnold+prepares+a+serve+%28Courtesy+of+SDSU+Athletics%29

SDSU Athletics

Tamara Arnold prepares a serve (Courtesy of SDSU Athletics).

by Morgan Prickett, Staff Writer

The San Diego State women’s tennis team hosted their first home event of the year, welcoming six schools for the Fall Classic I that ran from Friday, Oct.1 to Sunday, Oct. 3.

Student-athletes from Grand Canyon, Long Beach State, Cal State Northridge, University of Texas, El Paso, and San José State all arrived at the Aztec Tennis Center last Friday morning to compete.

The Aztecs have hosted a version of this event every season dating back to the 2003 to 2004 campaign until 2020, when schools were forced into closing their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Aztecs capped off the Fall Classic I with two fourth-place finishes by seniors Alicia Melosch and Agustina Rimoldi Godoy, two seventh-place finishes by sophomore Alexandria Von Tersch Pohrer and junior Cécile Morin, and a sixth-place finish by Morin and Von Tersch Pohrer in doubles.

Friday’s action commenced with doubles losses for Morin and Von Tersch Pohrer as well as Melosch and junior Julia Jordan.

Despite the rough start, Melosch and Rimoldi Godoy would go on to win their singles matchups later in the day.

Melosch defeated UTEP senior ​​Kathleen Percegona in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 while Rimoldi Godoy bested UTEP sophomore Elena Dibattista in a hard-fought three-set match, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

The remaining Aztecs Von Tersch Pohrer, Morin, and Jordan were eliminated from championship contention in their singles matchups and would go on to contend for fifth place on Saturday.

On Saturday Melosch and Jordan would fall against the UTEP duo of junior Thassane Abrahim and sophomore Veronika Lebisova, 6-4, while the Aztec duo of Morin and Rimoldi Godoy went on to win their matchup against GCU’s fifth year Autum Prudhomme and freshman Valentina Del Marco, 6-4.

Singles play continued after with Rimoldi Goddoy becoming the first of the two remaining Aztecs to be eliminated after her loss to LBSU redshirt freshman Nikola Homolkova, 6-0, 6-1.

Melosh then fell to SJSU junior Oleksandra Andrieieva in a hard-fought match, 6-2, 6-3. 

Although the score may say otherwise, the matches were close from start to finish.

“It (being in close games) has never been more important than it is right now,” head coach Peter Mattera said. “Coming off of the COVID-19 year and going into summer, we left our players at home last fall because of the restrictions and our spring season was very limited because of COVID-19 as well. Point being, many of our players are way behind in terms of competitive experience so this was very important.”

On Sunday, the action at the Fall Classic I came to a close.

Melosch and Jordan were forced to retire from their doubles match due to Jordan’s injury. This also meant that Jordan would retire from her singles match against UTEP’s Percegona. 

Morin and Von Tersch Pohrer continued their doubles play, but we’re defeated by CSUN redshirt seniors Jenna Dorian and Ekatarina Repina, 6-2.

Singles play began on Sunday with wins for Morin against UTEP’s Dibattista, 6-3, 6-3 and Von Tersch Pohrer against UTEP’s Abrahim, 7-6 (1), 6-1 to finish seventh in their respective tournaments.

Unfortunately, Rimoldi Godoy would be forced to retire from her third-place matchup against LBSU redshirt freshman Arina Babkova due to injury.

As time at the Fall Classic I dwindled, the final singles matchup of the weekend for the Aztecs began. 

Melosch competed against GCU junior Natashe Pueshe in another close-fought match, but ended up falling to Pueshe in straight sets, 7-6 (5), 7-5 leaving Melosch in fourth.

“We start back to practice on Tuesday. We’re going to continue to work really hard on our strength and conditioning,” Mattera said. “This tournament highlighted that you’ve got to be stronger and fitter than the person on the other side of the net. Again, COVID-19 did a number on our ability to have gym access and all that serious stuff over the summer but that’s just reality. The good news is that we are primarily a spring sport so we have a bit of time to continue and work on our strength, conditioning, and match play.”

The Aztecs are next in action from Oct. 6 to Oct. 10 as senior Bunyawi Thamchaiwat, who is number 9 in the nation in the ITA women’s rankings, heads to the ITA Women’s All-American Championships in Charleston, S.C. representing SDSU.

SDSU’s next competition as a team is the ITA Southwest Regional Championships at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego from Oct. 21 to Oct. 25.

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