Tennis splits against LA schools

Senior Melisa Ates moved up to fifth on the school’s all-time wins list



Then-senior Tiffany Mylonas hits the tennis ball back towards her opponent on Mar. 31, 2019 at the Outdoor Tennis Courts. The game against Arizona resulted in a 6-1 win for the Cougars.

ERIN MULLINS, Evergreen reporter

The No. 47 WSU tennis team faced No. 6 UCLA and No. 16 USC this weekend at the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. 

The Cougars fell to UCLA 6-1 on Friday but came back with an upset victory over USC, 4-3.

Senior Melisa Ates won her first set in singles play against Taylor Johnson, but a late break by Johnson caused a third set. They played a 10 point tie-breaker, and Ates won the set, finishing 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.  That victory was Ates’ 96th career victory, which cemented her place in owning the fifth-most number of victories in school history. 

The loss against UCLA saw the Cougars fall to 5-5 on the season and 0-1 in Pac-12 play.

The Cougars started off strong in their doubles matches against USC, as they won two of three to get the first point of the match. WSU’s Michaela Bayerlova and Hikaru Sato defeated USC’s Eryn Cayetano and Naomi Cheong 6-4. After that, WSU’s Pang Jittakoat and Fifa Kumhom beat USC’s Summer Dvorak and Danielle Wilson 7-5 in their final doubles match.

In the team’s first singles match, WSU’s Sato fell to USC’S Cayetano 6-0, 6-2. However, Ates won again against USC’s Clare McKee 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. Ate’s strong performance was followed up with a win by Bayerlova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, who defeated Cheong.

In their fourth singles match, USC’s Cayetano defeated Sato 6-0, 6-2, while the fifth saw WSU’s Jittakoat fall to USC’s Wilson 4-6, 3-6.

In her first set, Savanna Ly-Nguyen was defeated by Dvorak 0-4, but she came back strong in the second, winning 6-0. Ly-Nguyen did not disappoint in her final set, defeating Dvorak 6-4 to win the match and clinch the team victory. Overall, the Cougars defeated USC 4-3. 

“Savannah came back after losing the first set and took care of business,” head coach Lisa Hart said.  

Hart was ecstatic that the Cougars won such a close game but was not surprised. 

“It’s exactly what I expected. I am really proud of our players for staying with it and continuing to fight for every point and finding four wins,” Hart said. 

Hart said that even when they lost, the team’s matches against some strong competitors were lost by thin margins. She expected them to win against USC.

“I really felt like we were kind of due to be on the other side,” Hart said.

The Cougars’ strong team dynamic helped them cement their victory on Sunday during such close competition. 

“They really care about each other. I think they genuinely want everyone to win,” Hart said. “So they are really good cheerleaders when they are not playing.”

The Cougars are hosting their next five games at home starting with Pac-12 rival Utah on Thursday. The live statistics can be followed on the WSU athletics website.