Long Beach State University and Cal Poly get served by SDSU Women’s Tennis on best start since 1994

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Morgan Prickett

Senior Nnena Nadozie prepares to return a serve at the Aztec Tennis Center.

by Morgan Prickett, Staff Writer

The San Diego State Univesity women’s tennis team (5-1) won two straight shutouts this weekend at the Aztec Tennis center: 4-0 on Friday, Feb. 11 against Long Beach State University (1-2) and 7-0 on Saturday, Feb. 12 against ​​California Polytechnic State University (4-1).

The two wins eclipsed an Aztec milestone, making this the best start to any SDSU women’s tennis season since 1994.

“I’m proud to be their coach and I hope that they’re proud to be members of this team. I just reminded them of how lucky we all are, so it feels good. We have a good group and we knew that going in. We’re just going to try and keep getting better every day and keep it rolling,” head coach Peter Mattera said. “I know we’ve had some really good teams in the past; we have a legacy here that we’re trying to uphold so it feels good to be one of the best teams we’ve had in a long while. But we’re only as good as our next match so we’re gonna keep it rolling.”

Friday versus LBSU

Despite the final scores of both matches this weekend, this was some of the most competitive tennis the Aztecs have played this season.

The day started off with the 49ers grabbing a win in a doubles match that featured some of the best players in the country. The elite duo of freshman Sheena Masuda and junior Zara Lennon — ranked 48th nationally — handed SDSU’s top duo of seniors Bunyawi Thamchaiwat — ranked 80th nationally — and Tamara Arnold their first loss of the season. 

The Aztecs didn’t take kindly to the loss and would go on to win every single remaining game.

Seniors Nnena Nadozie and Alicia Melosch evened the score with a 6-3 win over LBSU freshmen Nikola Homolkova and Claire Le du. 

This meant that the Aztecs would win the double’s point in the final doubles game as senior Regina Pitts and junior Cécile Morin recorded a 6-4 victory over freshmen Arina Babkova and Peppi Ramstedt. 

Up 1-0, the Aztecs then went on to thrash the 49ers, winning all six singles games. The singles matchups were highlighted by Thamchaiwat and Arnold’s stellar performances. 

Arnold improved to 3-1 on the season with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Masuda while Thamchaiwat surrendered only three games in a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Homolkova moving her to 4-0 on the season.

Arnold and Thamcahiwat both expressed their gratitude for being able to play alongside one another after both transferring from Oklahoma State University.

“Playing with Bunyawi is so much fun on the court. It‘s so relaxed and easy,” said Arnold.

“We’re good partners. At OSU I feel as if we played really well. We know each other, we know the game, and we’re really connected,” Thamchaiwat said.

With the win, the Aztecs snapped a 14-match losing streak to the 49ers, posting their first victory against LBSU since April 12, 2005.

Saturday versus Cal Poly

On Saturday the Aztecs welcomed the Mustangs from Cal Poly.

Doubles action began with a win for each side.

Thamchaiwat and Arnold defeated juniors Emily Ackerman and Kim Bhunu 6-4 while Cal Poly sophomores Delanie Dunkle and Melissa LaMette evened it up in a 6-3 win over Nadozie and Melosch. The doubles point would come down to a nailbiter where Pitts and Morin narrowly defeated freshmen Eliza Bates and Peyton Dunkle 7-5.

After the Aztecs took the doubles point, they once again set the pace for a dominant singles run where the Aztecs went undefeated.

The final game of the day came down to Nadozie as she eked out a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 over Ackerman to the rejoice of her Aztec teammate and sealing the day for the Aztecs with a dominant 7-0 win.

The two wins extended the Aztecs’ home win streak to eight in a row. 

“It’s always very helpful to play in your home environment and on the courts where we feel comfortable. Its conditions that we’re used to,” Mattera said.  “Last week on the road we had some wind and a little bit of elevation which is a bit different. It’s always harder in any sport to win on the road.”

Mattera and his players all share the same fondness for playing at the Aztec Tennis Center.

“If you ask anyone on the team, everyone will say that they love to play here,” Arnold said. “It’s our home, we know the people that are here, we know the courts, we know the balls, we know the weather conditions and we have a couple of fans that feel like they’re a part of the program.”

The Aztecs will look to continue their hot start to the season and home winning streak as the University of Hawaii visits Friday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. and the University of California, Berkeley visits on Sunday, Feb. 19 at noon.