The women’s tennis team finished the season in fourth place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after falling to Redlands, 6-3, in the third place match at the SCIAC Championships May 4 at the Upland Tennis Club.
La Verne finished the year with a 13-8 overall record and 5-4 in SCIAC. The 13 wins are the most in La Verne history. The Leopards also finished the season ranked No. 28 nationally for Division III, the first national ranking the team has earned.
“This was a breakout year,” head coach Yolanda Duron said. “At the end of our season I was extremely proud and I was near tears. Thank God I had sunglasses on.”
Freshman Shenelle Trujillo and sophomore Laina Matsuda won their respective singles matches. Trujillo won 6-2, 2-6, 1-0 (6) against freshman Gabriela Vasquez. Matsuda won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1 against sophomore Ceara Sumida. With the win, Matsuda avenged her regular season loss to Sumida last month.
“Last year we were more individually focused,” Matsuda said. “We are more of a team this year than we were last year.”
In the doubles matches, Matsuda and junior Jeanette Losaria fell 8-6 to the Bulldog team of Sumida and junior Jessica Ly. The combination of junior Carly Tucker and freshmen Megan Soucey suffered a 9-7 defeat to Vasquez and freshman Lauren Villanueva. However, Matsuda and Losaria finished the season as the No. 9 nationally ranked women’s doubles team.
“It was hard to adjust to each other at first, but it worked out,” Losaria said. “It is good to see rewards and be ranked.”
Losaria is also ranked No. 23 nationally in women’s singles.
Freshman Andrea Madrigal, ranked No. 7 nationally in women’s singles, recorded a straight sets win over Ly, 6-2, 6-3. Ly defeated Madrigal in the regular season.
“I had a lot people telling me I need to beat her,” Madrigal said. “It made me want to win more.”
Madrigal is ranked the No. 1 alternate in the West Regional. If given the opportunity to play in the NCAA Championships, Madrigal said she will be ready.
“I’m just going to practice” Madrigal said. “That is what I do more than anything.”
The national championships will be held May 21-26 in Kalamazoo, Mich.
“This was the best La Verne tennis has ever done,” Duron said. “The energy every single girl brought really helped the experience of our team.”
“Since our team has such great chemistry on and off the court it definitely helped us throughout the season,” Losaria said. “It is rare to get a group of girls to get along and the fact that we all stuck by each other during season made the journey that much more rewarding.”
“Making La Verne history was that much sweeter because we truly came together and competed as a team in the end regardless of all the ups and downs we had gone through,” she said.
Julian Mininsohn can be reached at email@example.com.