Corsairs sail into playoffs with win

To get back to the State Championship, the Santa Monica College Corsairs had to go on the road Thursday and defeat the previously unbeaten Saddleback Gauchos, the team that defeated them just a year ago in the state championships by an overall match score of 7-2,. 

"We are peaking at the right time," said Head Coach Richard Goldenson of his team that has steadily been improving throughout the season. 

This was a powerhouse match-up as the Santa Monica Corsairs, who are 13-1 overall and 9-0 in conference play, faced off against the Saddleback Gauchos (13-0, 10-0). In their previous match-up, the Gauchos got the better end of the series as they defeated the Corsairs to win the 2010 State Championship. "We lost that match 7-6 and 6-2," said Co-Captain Jutta Collett, who was looking to get a little vengeance that afternoon.        

Collett and Co-Captain Gwendolyn Kauffman were the only returning players from last season's title loss to Saddleback, and they remember the loss like it happened yesterday. "This will definitely be a confident booster if we get the win today," said Kauffman, as she was focused especially for this match.

Both Captains knew that this match was not going to be easy one, as mostly all of the individual matches went during a decisive third set.

Kauffman rallied from a second set loss to cruise past her competition 6-2 in her third set. Collett, unfortunately, was at the losing end of her battle as she also split her sets and went to a third where she lost 3-6. "I was a little tired after the first two sets," said Collett. "I tried my best."       

The Corsairs were able to take four out of the six individual matches with wins coming under Katerina Mozolyuk, Criss Rodriguez, Krystal Hansward, and Gwendolyn Kauffman.

In the doubles sets, the Corsairs continued their winning ways, rallying to win two out of the three matches to take the match overall 6-3.

With their victory over Saddleback, the Corsairs have secured home court advantage for their first three-playoff matches. "We are at the base of the summit," said Coach Goldenson, "We have just climbed 100 feet more."

The Corsairs ride their momentum into Ventura for the Western State Conference Championship for the individual matches which are from April 15 to 16.