Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Tennis team opened up their 2019 regular season Saturday driving up to San Luis Obispo only to fall 8-1 to the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz.
Whittier was coming off a 9-0 loss to Concordia in an exhibition match during the week, while UC Santa Cruz was boasting a 2-1 record with wins over Lewis-Clark State and Chabot College.
Due to inclement weather the match was moved from Santa Cruz to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But the change in venue and shorter drive still did not help the Purple & Gold as they drop to 1-1 on the season.
The Poets came out of the gates quickly. At No. 2 doubles, Madeline Schmidt-Perez (San Marino, Calif.) and Avery Turner teamed up and opened up a huge 5-2 lead but couldn't hold it as the Banana Slugs rattled off six in a row to pull off the 8-5 win. At No. 3, Kallysta Lopez (Whittier, Calif.) and Stacey Bendanillo (Brawley, Calif.) stayed close early but couldn't keep it going as they fell 8-3. The lone point for WC came at No. 1 from Kindall Yeung (Fullerton, Calif.) and Amanda Rodriguez (Glendora, Calif.). They trailed 7-4 and had their backs against the wall but managed to claw their way back to win 8-7 (8-6) keeping Whittier in the match.
In singles, Kiara Embrey (Los Angeles, Calif.) was subbed into the No. 6 slot but was swept 6-0, 6-0 giving UCSC their third point. Schmidt-Perez who moved into the No. 3 slot for the first time dropped 6-1, 6-2 and Yeung gave the Banana Slugs the clinching point at the top spot falling 6-2, 6-1. The matches of the day came at No. 2 from Rodriguez who dropped a break in each set (6-3, 6-3), Lopez at No. 4 who stayed close but couldn't overcome two breaks (6-3, 7-5), and at No. 5 from Turner who fell 6-2, 6-4.
Whittier remains on the road for their next match in two weeks when they travel across town to Biola University on Saturday, February 23. Match time is set for 10:00am.