Eliseeva and Lauritzen place second at State Championships

Playing against teams all across California, the Lady Corsairs proved, like they had all year, that this team is indeed something special. The Lady Corsairs capped off their season in spectacular fashion last weekend at the State Championships. Standout sophomore Anastasia Eliseeva reached the semi-finals in the singles bracket and the duo of Eliseeva and tennis rookie of the year Tiana Lauritzen combined to capture second place in doubles competition.

The combination of Eliseeva/Lauritzen had been bulldozing opponents all season, and California State Championships were the perfect opportunity for the duo to showcase their talents on a larger scale.

The team's trek towards the State final match began Friday afternoon, as Eliseeva/Lauritzen prepared to face Chabot College's Kris Pacis and Rachel Peralta. The Corsairs' duo wasted little time in the opening round, defeating Chabot College in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.

Given an hour to rest and recuperate, Eliseeva and Lauritzen resumed their march to a title in the second round against the Sierra College Wolverines. Sierra's Brittany Miller and Kelsey Chrisco tried their best to knock off the second seeded Corsairs, but just like SMC's first round opponent, the Wolverines were simply no match. Eliseeva/Lauritzeen took down their opponent in straight-sets and continued to cement themselves as the team to beat.

After a day's hiatus, doubles play resumed on Saturday afternoon, as the Corsair duo moved onto the semi-final round of competition. Needing only one more victory to reach the illustrious championship match, Eliseeva and Lauritzen were pitted against De Anza College's Cartoon Phuckachamp and Diane LuTran.

Merely hours earlier, Phuckachamp had captured the women's singles state title and was finishing off her opponents in dominant fashion. Facing such a menacing player might put fear in the hearts of weaker teams, but the Corsairs weren't about to shy away from a challenge.

Eliseeva and Lauritzen battled Phuckachamp/LuTran to a standstill, as each duo took one set respectively. The third and final set would determine the winner, and the Corsairs weren't about to let this opportunity slip away. Eliseeva/Lauritzen made the necessary adjustments as they took the determining set against De Anza, 6-3, and subsequently paved their way to the State Finals.

With only a half-hour to recover, the Corsairs virtually jumped right back into action as they faced a familiar foe in the doubles championship match. Eliseeva and Lauritzen recently took the Ojai Invitational crown and defeated Reedley College's Amy Busch and Yumiko Justin in order to do so. It was déjà vu for the Lady Corsairs as Justin and Busch would be their finals' opponent at the State Championships as well.

Unfortunately for SMC, their magical run would come to end, as Reedley College's duo proved to be too much on this night. Eliseeva and Lauritzen took the lead early, but Justin/Busch would battle back to take both the first and second set, ending the Corsairs' title hopes, 7-5, 6-4.

Despite the disappointment, the women's tennis season has no doubt been one for the ages and Eliseeva couldn't have been happier.

"This season was great for the whole team," said Eliseeva. "We won conference and reached the State Finals. It was an amazing year, and it was the most fun I've ever had."

Head coach Richard Goldenson echoed Eliseeva's sentiments and knew that this season he had been coaching a very special team.

"Their level of dedication was truly phenomenal," said Goldenson. "Every time the team stepped onto the court they gave it everything they had."