One month ago, the San Diego State women’s tennis team had a record of 4-6. If it was looking for ways to improve its season, putting together a long winning streak would have been a good place to start.
Check that off the to-do list.
Since beating nationally-ranked Pepperdine University on March 9, the Aztecs have been blazing hot, winning their last eight matches in a row and improving their record to 12-6. Along the way, SDSU has managed to earn a national ranking of No. 47.
“When you struggle at the beginning of the season and then you win a really tough match like we did against Pepperdine, that was a really good win and I think that gave us the confidence to beat good teams and continue to play well,” senior co-captain and No. 1 singles player Julia Trunk said. “It’s been a team effort, we are playing well as a team.”
During the winning streak, Trunk, along with sophomore Alicia Aguilar, have each posted singles match records of 5-2. Sophomore Julia Wais contributed a 6-2 record, and junior Emma Cioffi chipped in with a record of 7-1.
“When the person next to you on the court is fighting their eyeballs out and playing good tennis and getting good results, it only makes you want to do the same,” head coach Peter Mattera said. “Right now our team is demonstrating a tremendous amount of confidence and heart and if you can do that, you’re going to win more often than you’re going to lose.”
Another key contribution to the team’s success has been its dominant performance in doubles matches. SDSU has won the doubles point in each of its last eight outings.
“All year long we’ve been playing really good doubles and that always helps to set a really good tone in the match,” Mattera said. “If you can win that doubles point and carry some of that momentum through to the singles matches, that’s a beautiful thing.” Setting a winning tone in conference match play is equally as important, and so far the Aztecs are off to a great start. This past weekend SDSU opened its Mountain West Conference season with wins against No. 68 Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force.
“It feels really good,” Wais said of the team’s start to conference play. “It’s really important because, especially last year, when we lost in the finals in the conference tournament, I think it’s good for our confidence to start like that, winning three conference matches in a row.” The women got to savor those first conference victories for just a few days before returning to their tough non-conference schedule.
Today they travel just a few miles down the road to take on the No. 24 University of San Diego team that has a seven match-winning streak of its own coming into the mee. Maintaining their focus, confidence and momentum will be important as the Aztecs near the end of the season with the goal of winning the MWC Tournament and earning an NCAA Tournament bid, but the head coach knew it was only a matter of time before his team showed its true potential.
“We knew we were a good team but we’ve hit our stride and hopefully we can keep it going,” Mattera said. “Confidence is the key to your universe. I’ve told them many times that if they’re confident they can do anything that they set out to do, and right now, being 3-0 in conference, 12-6 overall, being on an eight-match winning streak, I think they’re feeling very good about themselves.”
The No. 47 Aztecs and crosstown rival No. 24 Toreros enter the match with eight match and seven match winning streaks, respectively.
AT A GLANCE:
When: 4 p.m.
Where: USD’s Hogan Tennis Center
Why to watch: One team’s winning streak must come to an end as both the No. 47 Aztecs and cross-town rival No. 24 Toreros enter the match with eight-match and seven-match winning streaks, respectively.