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Beach Tennis Kicks off Spring Season
Sophomore Ebba Unden, one of two returners from last year's 21-4 squad, will look to lead her team as it pursues an 11th straight Big West title.

Sophomore Ebba Unden, one of two returners from last year's 21-4 squad, will look to lead her team as it pursues an 11th straight Big West title.

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Jan. 7, 2014

The Long Beach State women's tennis team will begin spring season play this weekend as it hosts the third annual Beach Classic at the Rhodes Tennis Center. Play will take play Friday-Sunday and begin at 10 a.m. each day.

The tournament will feature four teams including conference foe Cal State Northridge, as well as Denver and Portland. Each day will begin with doubles followed by singles play. The results from each match count towards the individual's record and ranking.

"We think that this tournament is a great way to kick off the spring season," Head Coach Jenny Hilt-Costello said. "After the holidays, it's a great opportunity for the team to have three days of solid match play before we head into our dual match schedule."

In the rankings:

The 49ers are ranked 42nd in the 2013 ITA Tennis preseason poll, making it the 14th consecutive season that LBSU has been ranked.

Last season, Beach Tennis was ranked every week of the season before ending the season at No. 40. Several of this year's opponents were also featured in the polls including Beach Classic team, Denver, who came in at No. 62.

Additionally, the 49ers will play No. 38 UC Irvine, No. 45 Washington, No. 46 San Diego State, No. 48 Pepperdine, No. 53 Tulane, No. 65 San Jose State and No. 68 Harvard.

With the exception of the match vs. Washington, all other matches against the preseason ranked opponents will take place on the 49ers home courts, where they were a sparkling 11-0 last season.

Building the new roster:

There are plenty of new faces on this year's tennis squad as last year's 21-4 team returns just two members including junior Karolina Rozenberg and sophomore Ebba Unden.

Unden, reigning Big West Freshman of the Year, competed at the top spot in singles during the fall season and went 7-4, picking up a key wins in the ITA regional over UC Santa Barbara's Kaiulani Boyer and San Diego's Anna Depenau before falling to No. 3 seeded Brynn Boren of USC.

She and Rozenberg also received an invite to the ITA All-American championships where the duo was able to advance on to the qualifying round before dropping a match to Texas A&M's Ines Deheza and Rutuja Bhosale. The Aggies duo was ranked No. 51 in the ITA preseason poll.

The remaining LBSU roster spots all belong to freshmen as several put together impressive starts to their 49er campaigns. Julie Gerard went 6-3 in singles play, while Hayley Thompson compiled a 7-2 record, but perhaps the most notable newcomer was Maeva Razakasoa who went 8-2 during the fall including a victory over teammate Unden in the Flight A finals match at the Beach Fall Invitational.

Tough road ahead:

The road doesn't get any easier for the Beach Tennis team after this weekend's tournament as they begin a daunting duel match schedule.

The 49ers will be tested right out of the gates as they play No. 45 Washington in Honolulu on Sunday, Jan. 19. They will then finish up their Hawaiian road trip on Monday, Jan. 20 by battling Big West opponent, Hawai'i. Both matches are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. PST.

Following the road test, the 49ers will open a five-match home stand beginning on Jan. 25 against No. 46 San Diego State.