Tennis makes it two in a row

The women’s tennis team struggled to find its rhythm in Florida this spring break, where they competed in a series of four match-ups March 24-27 that yielded mixed results.

The Vikings started off on the wrong foot with a 6-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast College. Though unable to capture points in the singles competition, Portland State had two teams score in doubles play. Lisa Bessman and Katie Slizewski defeated Florida Gulf Coast students Aesinska and Mykieta 9-7, and Haley McDonald and Blaze Wadum outplayed Collins and Elias 8-4.

PSU showed some improvement on day two, but ultimately lost to Jacksonville State, 5-2. Freshman Denise Cockrell was able to grab the first singles win of the Orlando trip with a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) victory over JSU’s Elisa Bennaim. Continuing their strong play in the doubles competition, Bessman and Slizewski overmatched JSU’s Miller and Bennaim, 8-5. McDonald and Wadum matched their teammates with an 8-5 win over Baca and Gurkaynak of JSU.

Though she put up a hard fight, Cockrell could not get another win on day three, losing 5-7, 4-6 to Southwest Missouri’s Maria Amato. The only Viking win of the day came from the seemingly unstoppable duo of Bessman and Slizewski, who won their third straight match 8-5. The PSU team ultimately fell to Missouri State, 7-0.

The Vikings seemed to finally fall into a groove on the final day, when they walked all over Towson (7-0). Bessman and McDonald, who had already proven themselves in doubles competition, played exceptionally and swept their opponents 7-0 in the singles competition.

“We weren’t used to the sun and wind and other outside elements,” said head coach Leslie Lewis. “But we had adjusted by that last day.”

After the final match, the team was able to enjoy the weather that had affected their play all week – they spent some time at Disney World.

The team was back in the overcast Pacific Northwest on March 30 for a match-up with UC Davis at the Portland Tennis Center. Riding on the strength of the doubles teams of Owens-Cockrell and Bessman-Slizewski, Portland State was able to come away with a 4-3 victory. Cockrell, Bessman and Katie Owens also took home wins in the singles competition.

The team is now 6-10 overall, already a significant improvement over last season’s win total of three. Next up, the Vikings will face off at San Jose on April 4.