WSU’s LA dreams crushed against USC and UCLA

Impressive sets against top-opponents not enough for team win



Savanna Ly-Nguyen prepares to strike the ball during a singles match against Idaho, Saturday, Jan. 29, at Hollingbery Fieldhouse.

SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor

WSU tennis (6-12, 1-6) spent the weekend in Los Angeles, where they saw their comeback stalled by No. 21 USC (12-10, 5-3), 4-3, and were overpowered by No. 15 UCLA (10-3, 6-0), 6-1.

4-3 loss to USC

In doubles, fifth-year Michaela Bayerlova and freshman Maxine Murphy beat Eryn Cayetano and Grace Piper, 6-2, while seniors Savanna Ly-Nguyen and Yang Lee beat Naomi Cheong and Snow Han, 6-4.

With the opening doubles point clinched for the Cougs, officials stopped the third match when freshman Hania Abouelsaad and sophomore Fifa Kumhom were down 4-5 against Salma Ewing and Sloane Morra.

In singles, the Cougs failed to maintain the momentum and quickly fell behind 3-1.

Against a top-10 opponent, Ly-Nguyen was outclassed. Cayetano, the No. 6 player in the country, came away with the win, 1-6, 3-6.

Freshman Elyse Tse lost to Danielle Willson in straight sets, 3-6, 3-6. Abouelsaad lost to Piper in straight sets at No. 4, 4-6, 4-6. This was Abouelsaad’s first match since March 11.

With the Cougs down by two after three singles losses, Murphy had perhaps the biggest win of her college career against No. 77 Han in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Murphy drew a tiebreaker in set one and carried that momentum into a closely matched second set.

Lee fought hard for the Cougs but came up just short against Morra, losing 6-7, 6-4, 4-6.

Bayerlova, the No. 91 player in college tennis, rose to the occasion against No. 41 Ewing 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5). After a tough set one, Bayerlova found her groove in set two and stayed in the zone to win her tiebreaker 7-6 (5). The win for Bayerlova was her 14th of the season and the 87th of her career. Her 87 victories moved her into the top-10 in program history.

Despite victory once again being out of reach, Bayerlova continued to fight and reached new heights for Cougar tennis. 

6-1 loss to UCLA

Ly-Nguyen provided the lone point for the Cougs on Saturday as WSU learned exactly why No. 15 UCLA is the top team in the Pac-12 Conference.

In doubles, Bayerlova and Murphy were quickly dismantled by the No. 41 doubles pair in college tennis, Elysia Bolton and Elise Wagle, 2-6. One court over, Ly-Nguyen and Lee were also overpowered against the No. 33 pair in college tennis, Ava Catanzarite and Abbey Forbes, 3-6.

With the doubles point decided, Abouelsaad and Kumhom once again did not finish their doubles match, trailing 4-5 to Sasha Vagramov and Kimmi Hance when the match was called.

In singles, five Cougars lost in straight sets. Lee lost to Vanessa Ong. Murphy, one day removed from her triumph over a top-100 opponent, lost to No. 125 Hance in straight sets. Tse and Abouelsaad joined Lee and Murphy, losing in straight sets to Catanzarite and Wagle, respectively.

Bayerlova also lost in straight sets, facing a top-50 opponent for the second consecutive day. She lost to the No. 47 player in college tennis, Forbes, 1-6, 4-6.

Ly-Nguyen gave UCLA a taste of their straight-set medicine, beating Vagramov, 7-6, 6-2. After winning the tiebreaker, Ly-Nguyen dominated set two to earn her 10th singles win of the dual season and 19th overall.

Each home match will be played at the WSU Outdoor Tennis Courts. For more information on WSU tennis, follow @WSUCougarTennis on Twitter.