On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the UCR women’s tennis team (2-3) competed against Westmont College (1-5) on their home courts in Riverside. The Highlanders went into the match looking to end their two-game losing streak in which they lost to the University of Oregon (4-3) and UC Davis (4-1). In the end, Riverside came out victorious as they defeated Westmont 6-1.
In total, the Highlanders have faced off against Westmont three times since 2018, and UCR has won in all three previous matchups. Last season was a successful season for the Westmont Warriors as they finished with a 20-6 record, the highest win total for Westmont since 2013, when they won 17 matchups. Additionally, the Warriors also won their conference tournament, the Golden State Athletic Conference Championship.
Once again, the Highlanders came out strong against the Warriors. In the singles bracket, only one Highlander suffered a defeat. Riverside sophomore Natalie Shamma battled against Westmont senior Cade Pierson in a back-and-forth match. Pierson won the first round, Shamma took the second and the third round saw Pierson edge out Shamma for the victory.
However, in the five singles matches, the Highlanders all earned subsequent victories. In the singles number two match, UCR junior Tia Elpusan got the 6-2, 6-0 victory against Westmont sophomore Emily Peterson. Riverside sophomore Lindsey Gelinas secured the 6-0, 6-1 advantage against sophomore Rachal Jackson. Gelinas also competed in a doubles match alongside UCR senior Lauren Wolfe. The pair took on a pair of Westmont freshman: Christine Hemri and Ana Negri. Wolfe and Gelinas earned a 6-1 victory.
In the singles number four match, Riverside senior Sara Khattab defeated sophomore Sidney Lowry 6-1, 6-1. Khattab paired up with Elpusan in the doubles category and defeated sophomore Peterson and Pierson in a final score of 6-2. Hanh Pham earned the win against Hemri 6-2, 6-4 in the number five singles. Pham also competed in the number two doubles match with sophomore Mahli Silpachai. Together, they defeated Lowry and Jackson by a final score of 6-1. The last finals match saw UCR freshman Sofia Lazarroni get the shutout victory against Westmont freshman Ava Verchimak. Lazarroni won the match 6-0.
Up next, the Highlanders will battle against Long Beach State (1-1) on Friday, Feb. 21. at 1:30 p.m. in Riverside at the SRC. UCR has never beaten Long Beach State in the 12 times they’ve met.