San Jose State’s nationally ranked women’s tennis team lost a close match against an unranked UC Davis team on Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-3.
With the score tied at 3-3, it came down to the last match, where junior Sabastiani Leon Chao was in a back-and-forth match that would decide the winner.
After losing the first set quickly, Chao made a strong comeback in the second set to force a third.
The third set was a nail-biter, with three lead changes in the set alone. In the end, Chao just missed a ball in the corner, which ended the match.
“In the third set we both wanted it,” she said. “She became more aggressive, and I wasn’t consistent in pushing her deep. My ball started getting shorter, I was getting tired, I was definitely moving more than she was. It was an awesome battle, and I'll learn from it to become more aggressive.”
The Spartans came into the match ranked No. 64 in the nation, according to the International Tennis Association rankings.
Head coach Sylvain Malroux said he didn’t think there was any pressure coming into the match being nationally ranked for the first time, but instead gave the team some confidence.
“No, I don’t think there was any pressure, and it showed in the doubles,” Malroux said. “They came out there in the doubles and did a great job on just focusing on what they needed to do.”
Sophomore Klaudia Boczova, ranked No. 40 in the nation in singles play, said it was a disappointing loss.
“I think all of us are disappointed, because we can beat this team,” she said. “I think we will learn from this, and come back even stronger and more motivated.”
The match started with doubles and the Spartans played well.
Led by Boczova and senior Chau Truong, the Spartans took all three of the doubles matches to gain a point before heading into singles.
“We did a really good job in the doubles,” Malroux said. “Not thinking about anything else but focusing on the execution and how to play.”
After doubles, six Spartans took to the court for singles.
“Beginning of the (singles) match seemed like it started pretty well,” Malroux said. “Everything looked in good shape.”
Truong and sophomore Julianna Bacelar started the Spartans off strong by winning back-to-back sets to take their matches, and gain one point each for SJSU.
“I was kind of doubting myself before the match because I’m injured, and I didn’t play for two days,” Bacelar said. “I’m the type of player that needs to play every day to be ready. The more I play the more I'll be ready.”
Bacelar shut out her opponent in the first set, and took the second set 6-1.
But not everything went the Spartans way, as Boczova lost her match.
“It just didn't work out, one day you’re up and one day you’re down,” she said.
Sophomore Jessica Willett won her first set handily, before losing the next two to lose her match point.
Freshman Margot Charron dropped two tough sets to lose her match point.
Coach Malroux said the team played tentative, and needed to be more aggressive.
“We had complete control at the beginning, and we kind of let it go,” Malroux said.
He said this type of a loss is a learning experience, and will hopefully be beneficial for the team to look back at.
“Davis is a tough team, they bring a lot of balls back in play and they're pretty challenging and they make you play, so you need to earn it,” Malroux said. “Hopefully this match will make us a little bit better and a little bit tougher for the next time we come out there.”