Long Beach State Takes on No. 71 Louisville Thursday
March 13, 2013
No. 37 Long Beach State will play its sixth ranked opponent of the season when No. 71 Louisville comes to the Rhodes Tennis Center Thursday for a 2 p.m. match-up.
The 49ers returned to the Rhodes Tennis Center last week to begin a six-match homestand against Eastern Michigan and No. 45 Boston College.
On Thursday, Head Coach Jenny Hilt-Costello utilized several line-up changes in both singles and doubles play and it paid off as LBSU swept EMU, 7-0. LBSU first captured all three doubles matches to earn the first point and continued to dominate from there, picking up straight-set wins at all six singles spots. It was the 49ers' first sweep since their first match of the season at UC Riverside (Jan. 26).
Friday's match against No.45 Boston College began with singles play due to the threat of weather hindering the match. In a tough battle from the beginning, Karolina Rozenberg earned the first point of the match with her 6-3, 6-3 win at the No. 4 spot. Shortly after, the Eagles tied it up as Klaudia Malenovska fell at No. 2 to Alex Kelleher. With each of the four remaining matches going to a third deciding set, Anne-Sophie Willems and Anna Jeczmionka came through to earn points No. 2 and 3 to put LBSU back in the lead. BC, however, would not go away as Jesscia Wacnik defeated Ebba Unden at No. 1 in three sets to pull the Eagles back within a point. Finally, it was Sarah Cantlay who sealed the victory for the 49ers with her thrilling three-set win at No. 3 over Kelly Barry. Long Beach State then won the final point of the match by taking all three doubles matches.
The 49ers will play their sixth ranked opponent in as many weeks when they play host to No. 71 Louisville. The Cardinals are playing at UC Irvine on Wednesday before coming to Long Beach for Thursday's match. Louisville hosts a 10-3 record with all three losses coming on the road including at Virginia Tech (5-2), at Eastern Kentucky (4-2) and at Wintrop (6-1). Members of the Big East Conference, Louisville was ranked No. 58 in last week's ITA Tennis rankings, but fell to No. 71 this week despite posting a 7-0 sweep over conference foe Cincinnati.
Long Beach State will continue its homestand next week, hosting two more non-conference opponents including Iowa on Wednesday and Wyoming on Friday.
Protecting Home Court:
The 49ers own a perfect 6-0 record when playing at home. LBSU has defeated three ranked opponents on its home courts, including No. 46 LSU, No. 65 Hawai'i and No. 45 Boston College. Historically, the 49ers have a 46-12 record when playing at the Rhodes Tennis Center, which opened in the fall of 2008. Long Beach State last lost at home on March 20, 2012 against No. 25 Nebraska.
Against Ranked Opponents:
LBSU is 3-2 against ranked opponents this season. The 49ers defeated No. 46 LSU, 5-2 (Feb. 9) and No. 65 Hawai'i, 4-3 (Feb. 16) at home before losing 6-1 at No. 75 North Carolina State (Feb. 24) and 4-3 at No. 30 UC Irvine (March 2). Last week, LBSU bounced back to defeat No. 45 Boston College, 5-2 (March 8). The 49ers also posted a 6-1 win over UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 10, who wasn't ranked at the time, but is now up to No. 63 in the ITA Tennis rankings.
In The Polls:
Long Beach State has been ranked every week this season and comes in at No. 37 in the latest ITA Tennis rankings (March 12). The 49ers started the season at No. 39 and remained there for four weeks before dropping down to No. 46 following a loss to previously unranked Loyola Marymount. Last week, LBSU was ranked 41st, but a victory over yet another week, LBSU was ranked 41st, but a victory over yet another ranked opponent helped boost the 49ers back into the 30's this week. During Hilt-Costello's tenure at head coach, the 49ers have been nationally ranked every year since the 1999-00 season. LBSU reached a top ranking in 2006, claiming the No. 26 spot.
Cantlay Continues to Climb School Records:
Senior Sarah Cantlay's strong singles play continues to move her up the school record books as her wins over EMU's Daphne Friedrichs and BC's Kelly Barry propelled her above Stephanie Bengson to lay sole claim to the No. 5 spots in overall wins (151) and individual singles wins (75). The Sevenoaks, England native is currently on a seven-match winning streak and is 11-2 in dual competitions this season.
Rozenberg's Solid Play
Sophomore Karolina Rozenberg has been a steady constant for LBSU, owning a 20-5 record for the 2012-13 season and is 11-2 in duel match play. After starting 3-0 at the No. 6 spot, the St. Petersburg, Russia native moved up to the No. 5 singles spot capturing six more victories while only suffering two losses. Last week, Rozenberg moved up again and won both of her matches at the No. 4 spot. Even more impressive for Rozenberg is that each singles victory has been in straight sets. Partnering with freshman Ebba Unden in doubles play, the duo has been a roll, going 11-1 in duel match play and owning a perfect 5-0 record in the Big West. The pair is currently on a nine-match winning streak.