Although Colorado weather isn’t always conducive to tennis, the Rams went to California during spring break and dominated two sun-spoiled teams. CSU beat Cal State Fullerton and U.C. Riverside both by scores of 6-1.
“Our players were just winning important points and kept after it,” head coach Jon Messick said.
The victories marked the end of non-conference play for the Rams, who are currently 4-3 on the season with their three losses coming from nationally ranked teams.
Sophomore Dasha Zhurin, playing at the No. 2 position, won both her matches, her sixth and seventh straight singles-match wins.
“(Zhurin) has improved on her game, her strength and her quickness,” Messick said. “But most of all she doesn’t give up, she just won’t accept losing right now.”
The Rams swept U.C. Riverside in the doubles matches, and Tatyana Ugorich, playing at the No. 4 position, dropped the only singles match. CSU had been struggling at the Nos. 5 and 6 positions, but Messick moved Carla Pallares up to No. 5 and switched Jessica Jones down to No. 6, and saw immediate results.
“(Jones) had been struggling at the No. 5 position,” Messick said. “I think I owed it to the team to try and move things around a little.”
Jones was 1-4 in her previous spot on the team and her one victory was because of a default. Over the two matches, however, Jones only lost one game in her four sets, thus taking her to 3-4 on the season.
Senior Sanja Hansson, the first CSU player to be nationally ranked, dropped from the rankings last week despite not playing. She will be looking to regain her national recognition after a victory against U.C. Riverside’s Michelle Beyronneau and a close loss to Ruya Inapulat of Cal State Fullerton.
Hansson has been playing at the No. 1 spot and has been enjoying much success going 5-2 on the season. Combine that with Zhurin’s 7-0 record and the Rams are 12-2 in the top positions this season.
“We’re getting the results at one and two,” Messick said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better from them.”
With their recent success, the Rams can take a little break before taking on conference rivals San Diego State and UNLV in Las Vegas on March 29 and 30, respectively. UNLV is ranked No. 18 and San Diego State is ranked No. 29.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Messick said. “UNLV and San Diego State will be the best teams we’ve faced all season.”