Women’s tennis both home and away this weekend

The women’s tennis team has a full weekend ahead, taking on Seattle University at home this afternoon at 3 p.m. before heading on the road Sunday to face Washington State in Pullman at 11 a.m.

The women’s tennis team has a full weekend ahead, taking on Seattle University at home this afternoon at 3 p.m. before heading on the road Sunday to face Washington State in Pullman at 11 a.m. After winning its first conference match at the end of February against the Northern Colorado Bears, the team had nearly a month-long break in its schedule until a loss last Sunday to Gonzaga began its three scheduled non-conference matches.

The Viks, 4-8 overall 1-3 conference, hope to regain the competitiveness they brought to the court in their first conference victory against the Bears 4-3. The Vikings opened the day with a clean sweep of the three doubles matches, giving them a comfortable 1-0 lead going into the singles section.

It was No. 1 Yuki Sugiyama who brought the momentum in the singles portion. The freshman moved the Viks to a 2-0 lead with a quick 6-1, 6-0 scores of her sets. After Sugiyama, senior teammate Anya Dalkin and junior Marti Pellicano sealed the Viking victory 4-3.

Sugiyama has been a crucial asset to the team. In PSU’s loss against Gonzaga on Sunday, Sugiyama scored the lone point, which gave the freshman her ninth win of the season. That win puts her at a 9-2 overall record. If the freshman gets one more win this weekend, she will become the first player since 1998 to reach the double-digit mark.

Sugiyama currently leads in singles wins for the Big Sky, but head coach Jay Sterling said that her wins are not the only asset that the player has. He said that her aggressive attitude makes her a leader by example for other players, and he called her focus on the court contagious for her teammates during matches.

“I never make it the main goal [to win],” the coach went on, explaining his hopes for Sugiyama this weekend. “Our expectations for her are to do what she does every week, to compete, and to outcompete her opponents in every category, and that’s what she does so well and that is why she wins so much.”

Sterling and senior captain Dalkin said that the month break was beneficial in getting the team the much-needed rest from official matches, with time to focus on technique and training. Sterling said that the schedule was designed so that the team will have this weekend’s non-conference matches as a buffer to ensure successful performances in the Big Sky.

“I think the break was great for all of us—it’s like we’re starting a new season so we’re not worn out, which is how a lot of tennis players get late in the season,” Dalkin remarked. “We are all pumped and ready for our match against Seattle U. It’s one on our list that our goal is to win.”

Friday’s game marks Seattle University’s final regular season game. The Redhawks hold an 8-14 overall record and are coming off a five-game winning streak played in Las Vegas over the past week. Most recently, the Redhawks beat San Jose State 4-3.

In Sunday’s action, the Viks will face non-conference opponent Washington State away. The Pac-10 school holds a 10-8 overall record. They will play two games prior to facing PSU this weekend—Friday against UCLA and Saturday against USC.

The last time the WSU Cougars were on the court was March 11 and 13. On March 11, the team swept the Montanas, 6-1 against Montana, and a clean 7-0 sweep versus Montana. The team then fell to in-state rivals Washington in a tough 4-3 match.

The Viks will need to dig deep in order to find their winning ways from earlier in the season, but success will be tough to find in what will surely be a challenging weekend. Sterling said that the team is focused and ready to finish out their season.

“[The break allowed the team] to reenergize both mentally and physically,” Sterling noted. “They’re coming back with a really fresh mindset and knowing exactly what we need to do and exactly what we want to achieve.”

Friday’s match is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at the Club Green Meadow, while Sunday’s action kicks off in Pullman, Wash. at 11 a.m. ?