Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Fourth-year tandem Madison Hale (left) and Alex Weil earned their 61st career dual-match doubles victory together.

No. 26 Tritons Wrap Up Regular Season With Narrow 5-4 Loss at Pomona-Pitzer

UC San Diego

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CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 26 University of California San Diego women's tennis team dropped a narrow 5-4 decision at Pomona-Pitzer Saturday. The Sagehens are ranked No. 5 in the NCAA Division III.

In rounding out the 2019 dual-match regular season with a second straight road defeat to an out-of-division opponent, UC San Diego falls to 12-7. The Tritons had won eight straight prior to Thursday's 7-0 loss at Division I San Diego State. Pomona-Pitzer is 14-3 as a winner of six in succession.

It was the first meeting between the sides since an 8-1 road triumph for UC San Diego on Feb. 14, 2016.

For the second match in a row this week, 40th-year UC San Diego head coach Liz LaPlante held junior standouts Valeria Corral (San Diego/Mater Dei Catholic HS) and Chloe Wight out of both the doubles and singles lineup, as they are nursing slight injuries and need get ready for what the Tritons expect will be a return invitation to the NCAA Division II Championship.

With Pomona-Pitzer the host, the match was played under Division III rules, meaning each doubles tilt counted for a single point (instead of one for two doubles wins), doubles were played to eight games, and ad scoring was utilized. The Tritons finished 2-2 on the season against Division III opposition, and are 5-2 on the road.

In doubles, the true freshman tandem of Anu Bhadada (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and Shweta Kumar dropped an 8-4 decision at No. 3 to Caroline Casper and Jay Kim. The Tritons' fourth-year duo of Madison Hale and Alexandra Weil then defeated Grace Hruska and Lucy Jiang, 8-3, at No. 2. The Sagehens still procured the slight advantage heading toward singles as Arianna Chen and Maria Lyven topped senior Ashley Chao (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and Becky Chou, 8-5, at No. 1.

The first singles matchup to finish was at No. 4, where Kumar evened things up with a come-from-behind, 1-6, 6-0, 6-0 victory over Jiang. It was the Irvine product's first win in that spot, playing up two positions in the absences of Corral and Wight. The result also marked her 10th singles victory, joining Chou and Weil in double figures.

Weil then briefly gave the visitors their first lead through a narrow 7-5, 7-5, win at No. 2 over Lyven. Pomona-Pitzer surged back ahead from there. Rebecca Salaway rallied past Hale at No. 6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, and Jacinta Chen dispatched Bhadada at No. 5, 7-5, 6-2. Arianna Chen clinched at No. 3 over Chou in straight sets, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Chao determined the final score by taking a close third set to down Casper, ranked No. 5 nationally in singles in Division III, at No. 1, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

UC San Diego will now await the announcement of the 48-team field for the 2019 NCAA Championship on Tuesday, May 7, at 5 p.m. PT live on The Tritons held the No. 4 slot in the NCAA's initial West Region poll, released last Wednesday. The top four in the final edition earn selection. UC San Diego lost at Hawai'i Pacific in the opening round a year ago, and is currently slated to head back to play HPU.

#5 Pomona-Pitzer 5, #26 UC San Diego 4
April 20, 2019 at Claremont, CA

Doubles competition
1. Arianna Chen/Maria Lyven (PP) def. Ashley Chao/Becky Chou (UCSD) 8-5
2. Madison Hale/Alexandra Weil (UCSD) def. Grace Hruska/Lucy Jiang (PP) 8-3
3. Caroline Casper/Jay Kim (PP) def. Anu Bhadada/Shweta Kumar (UCSD) 8-4

Singles competition
1. Ashley Chao (UCSD) def. #5 Caroline Casper (PP) 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
2. Alexandra Weil (UCSD) def. Maria Lyven (PP) 7-5, 7-5
3. Arianna Chen (PP) def. Becky Chou (UCSD) 6-3, 7-6 (7-3)
4. Shweta Kumar (UCSD) def. Lucy Jiang (PP) 1-6, 6-0, 6-0
5. Jacinta Chen (PP) def. Anu Bhadada (UCSD) 7-5, 6-2
6. Rebecca Salaway (PP) def. Madison Hale (UCSD) 4-6, 6-1, 6-2

Match Notes
UC San Diego 12-7; National ranking #26; Regional ranking #4
Pomona-Pitzer 14-3; National ranking #5; Regional ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,2,6,5,3,1)
Pomona-Pitzer ranked No. 5 nationally in NCAA Division III
T-3:30 A-50

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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