by maggie hills
The PLNU tennis teams each picked up a crucial win Tuesday over conference rival Concordia University. The NAIA No. 6-ranked Sea Lion women edged out Concordia 5-4, while the No. 7-ranked PLNU men triumphed 6-3 over the host Eagles.
After agonizing losses to Fresno Pacific University and Azusa Pacific University, whose men’s and women’s squads are both ranked ahead of their Sea Lion counterparts, PLNU desperately needed to rebound against the Eagles, who came into the matchup boasting No. 8 rankings for both of their teams.
The PLNU women’s team gained the advantage in doubles from courts two and three. No. 2 team Jessica Kwan and Kiersten Steinhauer easily won their match 8-3, and Wileen Chiu and Sharon Reibstein took their match 8-5. PLNU’s lone doubles setback came on court one, where Maika Adair and Hope Penner were defeated 1-8.
Singles play split right down the middle, with each side winning three matches. Kwan captured two 6-1 sets to easily take her match on court three. The other singles wins came from Reibstein and Chiu on courts five and six respectively. Chiu triumphed 6-4, 6-2, while Reibstein snagged the third set 6-1 to steal the win. That point would prove to be the match decider for PLNU.
The men’s matches were equally dramatic, with three of PLNU’s four singles wins stretching into three sets.
Doubles gave the Sea Lions a 2-1 edge to start off the match. PLNU’s No. 2 team KC Ensley and Angel Tavera won 8-5, and, after a long struggle, Tyler Bowman and Greg De Andrade emerged victorious on court one, 9-8.
In singles play, Bowman played Concordia’s Ashkon Babakee on court two and won in straight 6-3 sets. PLNU teammate Mike Zablan played on court four, coming back after losing the first set 5-7 to win the second and third 6-3, 6-1. On court five, Diego Tavera won the first set 6-4 and lost the second 3-6, but came back to take the match 6-1. Chad Rubin split the first two sets on court six 6-4, 5-7, but he prevailed in a third-set tiebreaker, 10-7.
The Sea Lions continued their momentum Saturday against Biola University. Playing with many of their backup players, the women cruised by the Eagles for a 9-0 sweep, and the men notched a 6-3 win.
The women’s record now stands at 10-5 overall and 7-3 in the Golden State Athletic Conference, while the men improved to 9-6 overall, 5-4 in the GSAC.
Today (April 2), the Sea Lions host Xavier University of Louisiana, and on Tuesday the teams will travel to Fullerton, Calif., to take on GSAC foe Hope International University. The men will begin their match today at 2 p.m., and the women will start at 4 p.m. On Tuesday, the schedule is switched, with the women competing first at 2 p.m. and the men playing at 4 p.m.