Women’s Tennis Doubles Place 3rd in State

Tennis captain Criss Rodriguez and doubles partner, freshman Juliana Nelkin, competed in the Women’s State Tennis Finals Championships this past weekend in San Diego, but fell short of the doubles title when they were knocked out of the semis to newly crowned state doubles champions, Julianna Bacelar and Layne Gallimore of Ventura College 6-4, 6-2. “It was very disappointing losing to a team we know we can beat,” said Juliana Nelkin. “It was heartbreaking and I felt that I did not play up to my level. For some reason I could not get into my groove.” Going into the tournament, Rodriguez and Nelkin were ranked #2 in doubles in Southern California.

On the first day of the tournament, Rodriguez and Nelkin faced duo Elise Cusenza and Presli Pilati of Modesto College, who are ranked #4 in Northern California, and beat them 6-0, 7-5.

Rodriguez and Nelkin then when on to face Monica Borowicz and Kelsea Thomas of Santa Rosa Junior College, who are ranked #3 in Northern California, and beat them 6-1, 7-5. This landed them a spot in the semi-finals against doubles duo and #5 ranked in Southern California, Juliannna Bacelar and Layne Gallimore of Ventura College.

Coach Richard Goldenson was really proud of the their accomplishments.

“Criss and Juliana played amazing tennis,” said Santa Monica women’s head tennis coach Richard Goldenson.

Despite the loss in the doubles category to Ventura College at the semi-finals, Rodriguez and Nelkin came in third place at the doubles competition in the state finals.

“I want to look back on this season as a positive learning experience,” said Nelkin. “Criss and I did very well in both singles and doubles and accomplished a lot this season.”

Sophomore and Captain Criss Rodriguez also qualified in the singles state competition. Rodriguez ranked #2 in Southern California for singles, and lost in the quarter finals to #1 ranked Northern California singles player Daria Kulbikova of Sierra College.

“It was a very good experience and I learned a lot about myself,” said Rodriguez. “My coach, Richard Goldenson, was a great support and I owe him a lot of credit for my performance. If it wasn’t for him, I probably would not have made it this far.”