Tia Elpusan earns a victory at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships in San Diego

The UC Riverside women’s tennis team competed at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships in San Diego, California from Thursday, Oct. 17 to Monday, Oct. 21. Overall, the Highlanders had a solid performance at the tournament, earning a victory along the way. 

“We played pretty well even though we played some really tough players,” Head Coach Mark Henry said. “We didn’t win all of the matches that we played well in but overall, the team played as well as I expected them to play, especially this early into the season.” 

 Junior Tia Elpusan had a strong showing on the singles side of the bracket despite losing her first set 7-5 to freshman Taylor Valenzuela of Cal State Fullerton. Elpusan would bounce back from the first set loss and go on to win her next two sets, and the match, by a score of 7-5 and 6-0. 

“Tia did a really good job during her three really long matches,” Henry said. “She battled a tough player that made her work really hard in the first match. It was a little rough but the fall tournament is good to see where we are currently at and where we need to improve.” 

Senior Sarah Khattab battled against Arizona State senior Savannah Slaysman. Khattab lost the match 6-2, 7-6 in straight sets. Sophomore Mahli Silpachai also participated in a singles match against freshman Shakhnoza Khatamova but lost both sets 6-1.

Elpusan and Khattab also competed in the doubles set against University of Hawaii freshman Madison Kim and senior Petra Melounova. However, the duo was unable to get the victory as they were defeated 8-2. 

“Right now, I would expect us to be a little bit better than last year,” Mark stated. “We have our starting six back from last year so just having that year of experience gives us that extra edge. The team is working hard during practice so if we stick to what we have been working on every day, we’ll get better and earn the wins that we’re supposed to get.”

Courtesy of UCR Athletics

Up next, the Highlanders will travel to Rancho Palos Verdes on Thursday, Oct. 31 California to compete in the Jack Kramer Club Collegiate Invitational Tournament.