Eliseeva and Lauritzen No. 1 in CA
Playing in a tournament graced by the likes of Pete Sampras and Billie Jean King, the women's tennis team achieved a feat never previously seen at SMC as they etched their names into the history books late Sunday night. Last weekend, at the Ojai Invitational, the Lady Corsairs four-day triumph was highlighted by the spectacular performance of Anastasia Eliseeva and Tiana Lauritzen, as they combined to beat out sixty-five other teams and capture the first doubles championship in school history. SMC would also find substantial success in the singles competition, with Eliseeva reaching the quarterfinals and freshman Jutta Collet falling just two rounds short of the same accomplishment.
The contest opened Thursday morning with the preliminary singles rounds that saw both Eliseeva and Collet breeze through their initial opponents without losing a set.
The second round culminated in mixed result for the Corsairs, with Eliseeva putting on another dominant showing against her opposition and Collet suffering a tough loss against Palomar's Brooke McBride. Eliseeva defeated San Diego Mesa's Izzy Richardson 6-2; 6-2, while Collet was defeated in heartbreaking fashion 2-6; 7-6; 6-0.
Eliseeva would knock off her third round opponent with another decisive straight-set victory, but was defeated in the quarterfinals by Sierra's Brittanie Miller in a grueling three-set duel. Despite the disappointing loss, Eliseeva was subsequently able to shift all of her attention to that elusive doubles championship.
Doubles competition was launched in the midst of the singles rounds, and was the beginning of the Corsair's true shining moment.
SMC's pairings of Elliseeva/Lauritzen and Collet/Kimberly Penez both opened the tournament with consecutive rounds of dominant tennis, with neither team losing a set to their first two opponents.
The next round was rough on Collet and Penez, with a few controversial calls not falling in their favor. They consequently lost in three-sets to Orange Coast's Melissa Boyer and Kim Ho. On the other hand, Eliseeva/Lauritzen were just getting started as they pulled out a tight three-set win over Mt. San Antonio's Carluen/Peng.
Two decisive victories later, Eliseeva and Lauritzen found themselves in a position never before achieved by any SMC women's tennis pairing, as they entered Ojai's doubles title match. Not satisfied with simply reaching the finals, the dominant duo of Eliseeva/Lauritzen wasted little time against Reedly College's Amy Busch and Yumiko Justin, taking both sets 7-6; 6-2 and thus capturing the illustrious doubles championship.
With record-breaking becoming commonplace for the Lady Corsairs, their spectacular level of success can be attributed largely on the players' arduous preparation.
"This team is genuinely dedicated and they know they have to practice consistently to maintain their competitive edge," said head coach Richard Goldenson. "Practicing gives them the confidence that they'll get the job done on match day."
Coach Goldenson immediately extinguished any concern that such an emotionally taxing event could possibly hinder the Corsairs in their current playoff push.
"There's something about that word playoffs that just gives you an adrenaline rush," he said with a smile.