The hottest team on campus was humbled Friday as Cal State Fullerton women’s tennis suffered its first defeat of the season. The Titans fell to Long Beach State 49ers 4-3.
“Even though we lost, it was good just to get in that situation where we got down 3-1 and we had to come back from behind and (potentially) win. And it came down to the last match out and for our player to be in that situation right now, I think it’s definitely going to pay off in the future,” said CSUF Head Coach Dianne Matias referring to her team being in losing situation for the first time this season.
Going into the match, the streaking Titans sported a program-best 11-0 start to the season. However, Fullerton had not defeated Long Beach in 17 years, and the 49ers extended their all-time series lead further to 23-0 with Friday’s victory over the Titans.
Alexis Valenzuela, the reigning Big West Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the fifth time in her career, was also undefeated before the match, boasting a 9-0 record in singles action. Despite a solid effort, she was upended by 49er Maeva Razakasoa 6-4, 6-1.
No. 3-seeded Karla Portalatin and No. 6-seeded Danielle Pham were the only Titans to pick up a win in singles play, defeating Maren Helgo 6-4, 3-6, 6-0 and Laura Eales 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, respectively.
Compared to singles, the Titans put together a much better performance in doubles competition marking the 11th time this season Fullerton captured the doubles point. The match featuring the dynamic duo of Valenzuela and Camille De Leon was left unfinished because the doubles point had already been decided.
The pairs of Sarah Nuno and Portalatin and Masako Makiba and Pham each handed their opponents a 6-3 loss. Nuno and Portalatin’s win over the 49ers’ pair of Eales and Lena Pacholski improved their doubles record to 10-1, which is on par with Valenzuela and De Leon’s record of 8-1.
With its historic winning streak now snapped, Fullerton drops to fourth in the Big West Conference with a 2-1 record and an overall record of 11-1. Long Beach, on the other hand, jumps to 4-1 in conference play, taking possession of third place.