Cal State Fullerton tennis could tie best all-time record over weekend

In Sports
(Katie Alberston / Daily Titan)

FULLERTON- After winning its fourth straight match, Cal State Fullerton women’s tennis looks ahead to two Big West matchups this weekend.

The Titans will go on the road to face UC Santa Barbara Saturday and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Sunday.

“They’re going to be big matches for us and we definitely want the win there, but our goal is to keep playing our best every match,” Titans Head Coach Dianne Matias told the Daily Titan.

CSUF continued its strong season with a 4-0 victory over Azusa Pacific Tuesday, which was ranked No. 21 in the Oracle/ITA Division II Women’s National Team Rankings. The Titans are now 15-1, their best start after 16 games in program history.

The Titans first matchup this weekend is against UC Santa Barbara, who rank beneath CSUF in the Big West standings with a 9-9 overall record and a 2-1 conference record.

Despite its record, UCSB is still a viable threat to CSUF. The Gauchos boast three ranked doubles teams (Palina Dubavets/Melissa Baker, Dubavets/Stefani Stojic, Baker/Stephanie Yamada) and one ranked singles player (Jaimee Gilbertson) in the Oracle/ITA Division I Collegiate Rankings. Since 2000, the Titans are 0-17 against UCSB.

The doubles matchup is one to look out for heading into Saturday’s game as CSUF has not lost a doubles point yet this season.

“Every game we’re getting more and more confidence, but there’s a lot of really good doubles teams in our conference so we just got to take every game the same way,” senior Alexis Valenzuela told the Daily Titan.

In last year’s matchup against UCSB, the Gauchos came out on top 5-2. Both of the Titans’ match wins in last year’s contest came from Valenzuela. She and doubles partner senior Camille De Leon beat the team of Dubavets and Stojic 6-1 and then Valenzuela beat UCSB’s Lou Adler in singles play.

One day later, the Titans will head to San Luis Obispo to take on Cal Poly. The Mustangs are second to last in the Big West with a 2-11 overall record and a 0-3 conference record.

Much like UCSB, Cal Poly has a favorable record against CSUF in the last 16 years. Since 2001, the Mustangs are 15-2 against the Titans.

One of those two wins came last season as CSUF shutout Cal Poly 4-0. That win was CSUF’s record-setting 17th win and was its last win of the season before losing three straight.

In last year’s matchup, Valenzuela, De Leon, sophomore Sarah Nuno and sophomore Karla Portalatin all defeated their Cal Poly counterparts. Due to rainy weather, there was no doubles play in last year’s matchup.

With five games left this season, the Titans are two wins away from tying their program-record 17 wins set last season. Back-to-back wins against UCSB and Cal Poly would not only tie the record, but help to keep CSUF high in the Big West standings.

“It’s going to be really big for us especially since it’s back to back,” Valenzuela said. “It will be a good battle.”

Bryant Freese contributed to this report.

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