Not a Drill: Women’s Tennis handle Quakers and snap three-game losing streak

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Morgan Prickett

Senior Bunyawi Thamchaiwat prepares for a serve at the Aztec Tennis Center.

by Morgan Prickett, Staff Writer

San Diego State Women’s Tennis (7-4) defeated the University of Pennsylvania (8-5) 6-1 Saturday, March 12.

The win brought an end to the Aztecs’ recent three-game losing streak.

“Through the last couple weeks, I feel like we grew as a team. We had so much energy coming in today and it translated into our matches,” said senior Tamara Arnold. “We were loud, we were proud we were fighting and I think that’s what made the difference, we were just so sick of losing.”

The Aztecs opened the match up with some dominant doubles performances.

As usual, seniors Bunyawi Thamchaiwat and Arnold earned the first doubles win for the Aztecs. The duo defeated the No. 41 ranked team in the country of graduate student Marija Curnic and senior Iuliia Bryzgalova, 6-4. Seniors Nnena Nadozie and Regina Pitts sealed the doubles point for the Aztecs after a hard-fought 7-5 win over junior Amanda Chan and freshman Sabine Rutlauka.

Singles action kicked off with a must-watch matchup between Thamchaiwat and Bryzgalova — who is ranked in doubles and the No. 96 ranked singles player nationally. 

In dominant fashion, Thamchaiwat dispatched Bryzgalova in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2.

The Quakers would earn their one-and-only point next as Gavriella Smith defeated Regina Pitts 6-2, 6-3 to cut the Aztec lead to 2-1. 

The last set of games would require all the Aztec players to dig deep and pull out a clutch win.

Senior Alicia Melosch was the first to add another win to the scoreboard when she defeated Eileen Wang, 6-4, 6-3.

The Aztecs were now one point away from winning the match with three players still playing, Arnold, Nadozie, and junior Julia Jordan.

Each of the remaining games were back-and-forth battles. 

The most heated of them all was no doubt the matchup between Arnold and Rutlauka. After multiple debatable calls that the players didn’t agree on, the coaches got into it with the umpire and then the umpire had to sort out both sets of coaches and players multiple times. The remainder of the game featured more voiced frustration from either side and a stoppage of play by the umpire.

Despite the clear tension in the game, Arnold said she prefers this type of atmosphere.

“I prefer [games like this] because it makes you mad at the girl and you want to win even more,” Arnold said. 

In the end, Arnold looked as poised as ever as she eked out a 6-4, 7-6(4) win.

“Tammy looked like she was in control of what was going on despite all the extracurricular activities out there,” head coach Peter Mattera said. “I thought she did a really good job of maintaining her focus and then on the back same thing for Julia and Nnena as well.”

The win put an end to all games that were being played, even with the results of Nadozie and Jordan’s matches up in the air.

The Aztecs will now have an 11-day break before they meet Dartmouth on Wednesday, March 23, at the Aztec Tennis Center.

“We’re going to carry on trying to work on those big moments,” Mattera said. “Eight of our 10 conference matches are on the road so this is a great warmup today. Good experience because it’s not the last time we’re gonna get tested like this.”