Women's Tennis: Pilots snap losing streak, beat Pacific 4-1

By Morgan Wahler | April 13, 2019 3:47pm
Raphaelle Leblanc sets up for the come back.
Media Credit: Elizabeth Lyons-Best / The Beacon

The Portland Pilots women’s tennis team snapped their three-match losing streak on Saturday, defeating the University of Pacific Tigers 4-1.

The home team dominated the doubles, each court securing the first ponts of the match for the Pilots. 

The No. 1 pair, juniors Jelena Lukic and Anna Oberg, won 6-2 after battling it out with the Tigers. The No. 2 pair, sophomore Lourdes Ramalle and junior Emily Soares, won quickly, with 6-1. Freshman Angela Schuster and sophomore Laura Okazaki dominated the No. 3 court, only giving up one point to the Tigers in a 6-1 victory.

“There was really good team energy and chemistry throughout the doubles,” Portland head coach Susie Campbell said. “Everyone brought everything they had.”

For the singles matches, the Pilots slowed down compared to their dominant doubles showing. 

Senior Jelena Lukic (pictured above) and freshman Neli Sunjic won WCC Doubles Team of the Week on Feb. 18.

by Elizabeth Lyons-Best / The Beacon

On the ones court, Lukic came out hitting heavy for the Pilots sweeping her opponent, winning the first set 7-5 and the second 6-1. In the first, Lukic established an early lead, but lost momentum, just closing it out.

“I feel like when we’re an indoor team against an outdoor team we need to own our building,” Campbell said. “We need to do the things that indoor teams do: take balls early, making sure our court position is good, make sure were taking advantage of the things that we should.”

The only Pilot to not play in a doubles match, sophomore Raphaelle Leblanc on the twos court was swept in a hard-fought two sets. In the first set, Leblanc rallied to come back from a three point deficit, tying up the set before ultimately losing 7-5. In the second, Leblanc fought point-for-point before falling 6-4. 

Soares made a huge comeback on the threes court. After losing 6-3 in the first set, she came out stronger in the second to secure a big, early lead and win 6-1. In the third tie-breaker set, Soares used her momentum to secure the 6-1 win.

“Seeing my teammates fighting motivated me to fight even more,” Soares said. “I love their energy and that’s what motivates me.”

Ramalle on the fours court swept her opponent in an aggressive, offensive match. She won in the first 6-3 after racing to an early 4-0 lead. In the second, she dominated the court 6-1. 

Junior Emily Soares's comeback helped The Pilots advance and eventually win the game.
by Elizabeth Lyons-Best / The Beacon

“The other girl played kind of like me, so i just thought about what is hard for me,” Ramalle said of her strategy. “I tried to do the same on the offensive to beat her.”

Her win led the Pilots to topple the Tigers. Portland reached four points before the five and six courts could complete their matches. 

For the fives, Schuster came back in the first set from an early 0-2 deficit to win by two. Oberg battled it out on the sixes court, going point-for-point, ending 6-6.

“It’s coming down to the wire,” Campbell said. “We needed one more win to get into the conference tournament and this was a really important one to move closer to that.”

The Pilots next match is against University of Oregon in Eugene on Wednesday, April 17 at 5 p.m. 

Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at wahler20@up.edu.