Cal State Fullerton tennis ends historic season with Big West Championship semifinals loss to Hawaii

In Sports
(Katie Albertson / Daily Titan Stock Photo)

Cal State Fullerton women’s tennis made it to the semifinals of the Big West Championship for the first time in program history but could went no further. The Titans fell to top-seeded Hawaii 4-1 Saturday.

The Titans ended their season with a 19-4 record, setting program records for winning percentage and wins in a season, topping the team’s previous record of 17 wins set last season.

“I’m definitely proud of the team and what we accomplished this year,” said Head Coach Dianne Matias. “We did better than we did last year and that was pretty hard to do.”

On Friday, the team survived a close back-and-forth with No. 5-seeded Cal State Northridge to win the match 4-3 and advance to the semifinals.

CSUF lost to Hawaii in its last regular season matchup on April 23, marking its second loss of the week.

For two Titans, this match marks the end of their career at CSUF. Seniors Alexis Valenzuela and Camille De Leon, the team’s top two singles players and nationally ranked doubles duo, are leaving after high levels of success over the past four years.

Valenzuela finishes her singles career 55-15, while De Leon finishes at 54-29. The pair also finished with a 30-4 doubles record.

“That’s going to be a big loss for us. They’ve done a lot for the program in the last four years,” Matias said. “They are the type of student-athletes you want to have on your team. They’re just great kids.”

Valenzuela and De Leon leave big shoes to fill, but Matias is confident the returning Titans can fill them.

Matias said that three of the five incoming freshmen next season can be starters right out of the gate, and that in order for the team to improve next season they’ll have to play higher-ranked teams in Division I.

“Moving forward next year, we definitely want to schedule tougher teams. I think that’s going to help us,” Matias said. “Also playing more matches back to back, because in order for you to win the Big West, you have to be able to play three tough matches in a row.”

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