Corsairs advance to finals

"Business as usual," said Coach Goldenson with a smile. There is perhaps no better way to describe the Lady Corsairs' fifteenth consecutive victory yesterday as they eliminated Orange Coast College in the semi-final round of the playoffs and positioned themselves just one win away from a Southern California championship. The women's tennis squad relied heavily on their endurance and composure as the meet carried on late into the chilly Santa Monica evening on Tuesday. Despite some minor speed bumps in a few early singles matches, the Corsairs rolled to a well-deserved 5-3 victory over the Pirates.

Firing out of the gates was freshman sensation Tiana Lauritzen in the #3 spot on the team, soundly defeating Orange Coast's Anna Walinowicz in straight sets. With her victories today, she polished her 40-0 record in both singles and doubles matches.

Catching up with Lauritzen after the game, she reflected on the effort that she put into the day's performance, "I just stuck to my game and didn't think about hers at all," she explained. "There's a bit more pressure because these are playoff games now."

While Lauritzen was sticking to the basics, the rest of the team was in the midst of their own matches on the other side of Reed Park.

Anastasia Eliseeva also took home the win yesterday, but it didn't come easy. After struggling in the early going by double faulting twice in the fourth game of the first set, Eliseeva honed in on her in-game strategy.

"I saw that she wasn't moving very much, so I started running her around," said Eliseeva. Using this tactic, she successfully drew her opponent away from the net and then angled a sharp shot to secure the match in straight sets.

With wins from fellow teammates Gwendolyn Kauffman and Kimberly Penez, also in straight sets, the Corsairs headed into doubles play needing only one more win to capture the event. At this point it was safe to predict the match's outcome by referring to the late nickname of former Dodgers' closer Eric Gagne, "Game Over."

This remains true because of the superior talent of Eliseeva and Lauritzen as doubles partners, evident in their victories together at the Ojai Invitational last weekend, crowning them as the best doubles pair in the state of California.

They took the honor to heart by showing their prowess on the court against the Ho-Boyer Orange Coast combo by taking the match in straight sets. Eliseeva cranked up the miles per hour on her rallies and served up an ace to win the fourth game of the first set that would've left scouts scrambling for a radar gun.

Lauritzen provided overly sufficient support with her notable net play, recording three smashes in the final two games of the match that devastated her opponents.

As the group heads down to Saddleback today for the Southern California finals of the playoffs, there is no doubt about the chip on their shoulder. Having Saddleback as their only loss, the girls have revenge on their mind. Coach Goldenson seems as confident as usual. "I was looking at them [Saddleback] last weekend at Ojai and I didn't see the improvement in them that we've had since the start of the season," he said.

The Corsairs look to cap off their undefeated conference record in championship fashion today against Saddleback College, as they face off in the Gaucho's backyard at 2 p. m.