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Panthers show no mercy for Leopards

La Verne sophomore Valerie Lezin returns the ball during the Friday doubles match against Chapman at the Claremont Club. The Leopards were hunted down by the Panthers, losing all nine games. The Leopards started the season with a three game winning streak, but are now on a three game losing streak with this loss. La Verne holds a .500 record at this point in the season. / photo by Warren Bessant

Daniel Hargis
Staff Writer

After a strong rally in a close match, a ball into the net signified the women’s tennis team’s 9-0 defeat to Chapman at the Claremont Club Friday.

The Panthers came out swinging in the doubles matches, taking all three points by at least a three-point margin, then sweeping the singles matches for the shutout.

“We are a better team than what we represented,” head coach Yolanda Duron said.

The ones from La Verne on the doubles side was represented by sophomore Allison Moncrief and freshman Laina Matsuda. In the first-to-eight game, the pair fell behind 2-1 quickly. The Leopard duo succumbed to their opponents, 8-2.

“Both of our serves were super off,” Matsuda said.

“We need to come into the game more prepared,” Moncrief said.

The twos, represented by sophomore Tarika Krishna­murthy and sophomore Carly Tucker, found early success with a 1-0 edge. The Panthers eventually opened a 6-3 lead and finished with an 8-3 victory.

La Verne came closest to winning a point through the partnership of freshman Brooke Hines and sophomore Valerie Lezin. After falling behind 2-1, it was a back-and-forth match. Lezin and Hines built a 3-2 lead, and then dropped six of their last eight games, losing 8-5.

With six points left up for grabs, ULV attempted to get back in the match. Matsuda is the top player for the Leopards, but struggled to gain her footing and fell in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-2.

“I felt really out of it and not focused,” Matsuda said.

The situation did not improve for most of the day as all six of the scoring singles matches were straight set losses.

Krishnamurthy, the No. 2 singles player, battled hard throughout her first set, leading 3-2 at one point, but could not hold on for a 6-4 first set loss. Chapman’s Melissa Boyer, Krishnamurthy’s opponent, then went on to earn a 6-0 shutout for the match victory. Moncrief lost her first match 6-2 but pushed to even things up with a back-and-forth set that eventually saw another loss, this time 7-5.

“I was slow in the beginning then I picked it up in the second,” Moncrief said. “I need to be more pumped to compete against other teams.”

The No. 4 and No. 5 ranked singles matches ended identically with 6-2 losses in both sets. The last match of the day, featuring Lezin and Panther Cassidy Sirois, was the closest. Lezin challenged Sirois to a 6-3 loss and then followed with a closely contested 6-4 loss.In the end, a lack of energy combined with a good Chapman squad fueled the day’s difficulties.

“I think it was an intangible,” Duron said. “We came out flat.”

Despite the rough outing Duron still knows there is a lot left in her team and things will only go up.

“We want to peak by April,” Duron said. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board and execute at practice so when it comes to the matches it’s like normal.”

The team holds a 3-3 record and next plays at 2 p.m. today at the Claremont Club against Biola.

Daniel Hargis can be reached at daniel.hargis@laverne.edu.

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