Eliseeva places second at Regionals; Corsairs qualify two for State

Despite a grudging loss in the conference playoffs to Saddleback College a few days earlier, the standout members of the Corsair women's tennis team pulled it together to leave their mark on the Regional Championship tournament last weekend. Anastasia Eliseeva, Tiana Lauritzen, Gwendolyn Kauffman and Jutta Collet represented SMC valiantly in singles competition with at least one victory for all four girls.

The freshmen trio of Collet, Kauffmann and Lauritzen each showcased their talents in the early rounds of play. Kauffmann decisively defeated her first round opponent, and then fell to the eventual third-place finisher, Stacey Peng from Mt. San Antonio College, in the second round. Collet and Lauritzen both advanced to the third round of competition, falling just one win short of the quarterfinals and losing the chance to qualify for state.

It was experience, however, that proved to be the missing ingredient for the Corsairs, and Eliseeva was more than happy to fill the void. The sophomore looked like an artist on the court last weekend. Doing her best Zorro impression, the phenom from Russia slashed through her opponents to prevail in four consecutive matches, eventually landing in the finals.

Eliseeva would fall in the final match to Mt. San Jacinto College's Ben El Hadj, a tough loss she attributes to fatigue.

"Overall it was great, but I was tired yesterday and today, so unfortunately I couldn't keep up the pace," said Eliseeva after the match. "At the beginning it was great and I was really happy with myself, but towards the end it was going really fast and my body was just giving in," she said.

By placing second in the singles bracket, Eliseeva locked up a spot in the state championship as the No. 2 seed, a feat that is nothing to be ashamed of.

It is no secret that Lauritzen and Eliseeva are dominant players individually, but the level of play that the two produce together in doubles competition could mark them as the best duo SMC has ever seen.

The pair shook off the fatigue and persevered to qualify for the state tournament this weekend by advancing all the way to the quarterfinals, an impressive accomplishment for the Corsairs.

"That was a first," said head coach Richard Goldenson, regarding the advancement of two of his players to the state championships. "I think we have a chance to win both events next weekend, singles and doubles, and I couldn't be happier," he said.

Lauritzen and Eliseeva look for a strong showing in this Thursday's tournament, May 6-8 in Newport, as they hope to bring home some hardware for the Corsairs.