The Big West Conference play returns this year for UC Riverside women’s tennis. This past week, UCR faced off against CSU Northridge on Saturday, Feb. 6 in the opening match of  conference play. With Northridge having a winning pedigree in the history of the conference (ending last year with a record of 5-3), it was bound to be a difficult match for the Highlanders who have yet to put together a winning season in their program’s eight-year history. And the statistics held true as Riverside struggled during the entire matchup in individuals as well as doubles, which resulted in a devastating loss.

For reasons not yet given, the first set of doubles ended in a DNF (Did Not Finish) with a tie at 4-4 between UCR’s Karlay Dulay and Tamila Vaksman. Despite this even match up in the first set, it was relatively one-sided from there on as the competition took the reigns with a crushing defeat for the following sets — 6-1 and 6-2, respectively.

Sharing commonality with the results of the doubles, the individual matches had each Highlander struggling to maintain the pace that was set by the Matadors. Despite consecutive dropped sets putting UCR in an adverse situation, the Highlanders managed to halt the onslaught that was brought on — if only for a brief moment — thanks to Caroline Hall, who impressively subdued her opponent in an impressive 6-3, 6-3 straight set win.
While a devastating loss for the Highlanders — and in the opener of the conference, no less — it’s still too early in the season to determine their fate. And although UCR finished second-to-last in the Big West Conference of 2015 with an overall record of 1-4, there’s still hope for the team. At this point either some redirection could alleviate the situation or just a little invocation for the team will suffice. With this in mind, the women will return next week against Biola and Hawaii, back-to-back home games on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14 respectively.