Jan. 17, 2005
SAN LUIS OPISBO, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's tennis team defeated its first nationally-ranked opponent of the season, topping 56th-ranked Cal Poly 4-3 this afternoon at the Mustang Tennis Courts. The Broncos' record improves to 2-0, and Cal Poly falls to 1-1.
"Today was a war," Coupe said. "Such pure competition. We are so excited about how well we've started our season. The players truly believe in each other and their abilities and it shows on the court; they're playing with a lot of confidence."
Coupe added that his No. 3 doubles tandem of Erika Barnes and Myra Davoudi dominated their court to earn SCU's first victory. After a loss in the second doubles match, the afternoon's first point would be determined by the No. 1 doubles court. Janalle Kaloi and Kelly Leathers battled from a 3-6 deficit to win in a tiebreaker over 37th-ranked Samantha Waller and Nicole Shabaz.
"After the way doubles went for us yesterday, we had nothing to lose, and the team just stepped up and played like they've been practicing," Coupe explained. "The players got up on the court and dictated the volleys. They were all tough matches, but our team stayed loose and kept the pressure on Cal Poly. It was absolutely amazing."
The first-year Bronco leader emphasized to his team not to be satisfied and keep the momentum through singles action. Leathers responded with a straight-set victory at the No. 2 spot in the line-up.
Cal Poly countered with identical 6-3, 6-3 victories on the fourth and fifth courts to tie the team match score at 2-2. The home squad moved to a 3-2 advantage with Chelsy Thompson's victory at court three.
Kaloi was leading the Bronco charge at the top singles court. After falling in the first set 6-3, the junior earned a 6-4 second-set victory to remain alive. She turned around a 1-4 deficit in the third to defeat Waller 7-5 in the deciding frame to once again tie the team score, this time at 3-3.
"Janalle's been injured the past two matches and could barely even move," Coupe described. "I was amazed at how she was able to gut it out. She kept fighting for us and it was an amazing feat for her to deal with the pain she was in. She kept us alive with her effort."
Kaloi's match was concluding as Jessie Strunk's was going into a third set on court six. Coupe praised Strunk's efforts in remaining mentally strong and said this victory confirms why she is such an anchor to the team's line-up. Strunk, a junior, bested freshman Falon Lopez 6-1 in the third frame to clinch the team win.
Santa Clara remains on the road and will look to take down a second straight nationally-ranked opponent when it visits 21st-ranked Fresno State next Saturday. First serve is set for noon at the Bulldogs' Wathen Tennis Center.
1. Kaloi/Leathers (SCU) def. No. 37 Waller/Shabaz (CP) 9-8 (5)
2. Lee/Thompson (CP) def. Cochrane/Daniel (SCU) 8-5
3. Barnes/ Myra Davoudi (SCU) def. Erickson/Lopez (CP) 8-4
1. Janalle Kaloi (SCU) def. Samantha Waller (CP) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
2. Kelly Leathers (SCU) def. Nicole Shabaz (CP) 6-0, 6-2
3. Chelsy Thompson (CP) def. Catherine Cochrane (SCU) 6-4, 6-3
4. Noelle Lee (CP) def. Erika Barnes (SCU) 6-3, 6-3
5. Carol Erickson (CP) def. Kimberly Daniel (SCU) 6-3, 6-3
6. Jessie Strunk (SCU) def. Falon Lopez (CP) 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1