Fresno State’s Sophie Watts returns an offering in Sunday’s matchup against University of San Francisco. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State women’s tennis team finished strong for a definitive 7-0 victory against University of San Francisco on Sunday despite windy conditions and an ever-shifting schedule.
The team actually didn’t know what time it was playing until late Saturday night but nonetheless came out prepared against a tough opponent.
“It was great,” head coach Ryan Stotland said. “Not knowing what time we were going to come out and finding out late last night … being ready, that was very, very impressive. It shows me that we have a veteran team that’s ready to go, and we’re going to be excited for our next couple of matches.”
Stotland mentioned that the team had some familiarity with its opponent and some difficulty in the past with it.
“A couple of girls really stepped up against girls they know they’ve struggled with in the past,” he said. “So it’s a great sign moving forward.”
Among those girls was Sophie Watts, who started in the No. 1 spot. She had been beaten 6-2, 6-0 in regionals against San Francisco in October. She responded by sweeping the competition in both singles and doubles, with her sister, Anneka.
“We definitely improved from Saturday,” Watts said. “We actually took control this time. Singles just continued from doubles. Basically, everything was just so much better today.”
On a day when the weather shifted as much as the scoreboard, sophomore Maiar Sherif Ahmed said San Francisco came out incredibly strong despite Fresno State’s strong finish.
“It was very tough at the beginning,” Ahmed said. “I thought the girls were over us. They were going with winners and moving so much on the net, but we waited for the chance to break their serves and then we finished.”
Tanya Murtagh and Anneka Watts also sustained first-set losses in singles before coming out with victories of their own to contribute to the perfect finish.Watts was the final player on court for the Bulldogs, dueling a very evenly matched opponent long into the windy afternoon. Her teammates gathered in the stands to urge her to victory and she smiled as the support gave her the upper hand.
As Watts walked off the court following her final point winner, the rain that had threatened this match all weekend arrived just a moment too late.
“Lucky us,” Stotland said. “It couldn’t be better timing, so it was meant to be.”
Men’s team improves on Friday
The Fresno State men’s tennis put on a clinic in front of the home crowd Friday afternoon, dropping only 12 games of a total 96 between doubles and singles.
The closest matchup came at the beginning, when Fresno State sophomore Euan McIntosh scored a two-set victory over Wyatt Kershaw, 6-3, 6-1, in the number one singles match.
The men’s team originally had a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but impending rain forced them to cancel their matches with Holy Names and Sonoma State.
Still, the Bulldogs are in good shape with a perfect 3-0 record.
Next for the men’s team is a match in Stockton against Pacific this Wednesday. The women are off until Friday, when they also visit the Tigers.