Lady Corsairs serve up the Marauders

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The wind was howling and the seagulls were squawking as the Lady Corsairs tennis team took to their home court yesterday, just steps from Santa Monica Beach in an attempt to push their untarnished season record to 10-0.

Standing in Santa Monica College’s way were the 2-7 Antelope Valley College Marauders, who despite their best efforts were just simply out-matched.

Drawing the Marauders top ranked player was freshman Mary Ashmore or “MK” as her teammates so fondly call her. Though Ashmore was playing Antelope Valley’s toughest competitor, it was hard to tell as MK dismantled her opponent from the very beginning, winning in straight sets 6-0, 6-0.

“It went well, she’s a great player. I just tried to work both sides, lots of topspin. Just keep her moving the best I could,” said Ashmore. “It’s good motivation to be up. You can experiment when you’re up by that much. Try some slice, mix it up a little bit, work my backhand.”

Ashmore’s doubles partner on the day, team captain Jessica Goldbeck, also had a very impressive outing, beating her Marauder opponent handily 6-2, 6-2.

“I felt like I could have played better, but I pulled it out and a win is a win,” said Goldbeck.

Getting in the habit of beating one’s opponent so convincingly on a regular basis can definitely have its setbacks. Goldbeck knows that to be true more than anyone.

In the team’s recent matchup with Glendale Community College, Goldbeck and her doubles partner at the time, Kaori Tsuda, who was not available for the matchup yesterday against Antelope Valley, came dangerously close to tarnishing the teams perfect record on the season.

Up 6-2 in the deciding match, Goldbeck and Tsuda allowed Glendale to creep back in and take a 7-6 lead. But as Goldbeck put it, they “stepped it up” and eventually won 8-7.

One Corsair who didn’t give her opponent a chance to make it a match was Thanapha Bencharongkul or “Bess” as she likes to be called. Bess beat her Antelope Valley opponent in straight sets 6-0, 6-0, but also knows the dangers of getting too far out in front.

“Sometimes I do get a little bit too confident and try to do little cheeky shots, but then sometimes they don’t go as expected so that’s why I try to keep my mind how it was before," said Bencharongkul.

Bess, who grew up in Australia attended The Knox School in Melbourne, where among other things developed top tier social skills that come in handy when she needs to turn on the charm before and after matches.

“I’m normally friendly with the girls before we start playing, so we don’t get into any arguments or anything," said Bencharongkul. "Little conversations on the court helps everyone be nice to each other and it makes the game a little easier to officiate ourselves.”

Rounding out the singles matches on the day for the Corsairs was sophomore Victoria Mamatova who won 6-3, 6-1, and freshman Izabel Nazdracheva who finished her nearly perfect match 6-1, 6-0.

“I’m very excited for playoffs, I feel like we’re going to go all the way this season,” said Mamatova. “We have such a strong team and not only are we strong on the court, we’re also strong off the court. We have such a great bond, we joke around all the time; I think it’s going to be a great year for us.”

Doubles matches were as lopsided as the singles matches as SMC won both pro sets 8-1 and 8-2 respectively.

Also excited for the playoffs is Head Coach Richard Goldenson who knows not to get too excited, but it’s hard not to get stoked for the ensuing playoff run with such a powerhouse team.

“I feel good about the playoffs, the team’s peaking at the right time and if they bring their A-game during playoffs, things should go pretty well,” said Goldenson.

SMC will compete in an individual tournament in Ventura on April 4 and 5, and then it’s on to the playoffs which will begin April 8. The site is yet to be determined, but as Coach Goldenson put it, “Hopefully it’ll be at home.”