Westmont Women’s Tennis (0-1) opened up their season with former GSAC and future PacWest rival Azusa Pacific on Monday afternoon in Santa Barbara. The NCAA Div. II Cougars, the two-time reigning Pac West champion, defeated Westmont in the Warrior’s season opener by a score of 4-0.
“We got a lot out of today,” said Westmont head coach Cade Pierson, the reigning GSAC Coach of the Year. “They’re a very talented team, having won the PacWest each of the past two seasons. Getting them on our schedule, even this early, was a really good idea for us since we’re getting to play them twice.
“It’ll be awesome to play a team of this caliber twice for a couple reasons. For one, of course, being in the same conference next year, and for two, it will give us a great chance to measure our progress later in the season.”
In doubles, APU took each of the three sets by a score of 6-1, which included a court one victory for Madison Kane and Elanora Liga over Westmont’s Francesca Aguirre and Sophia Ostovany.
In singles, the first match to finish was on court four, where APU’s April Wong defeated Liska Knight 6-2, 6-1 in the Warrior’s collegiate debut. The result from court one followed next, with Liga defeating Aguirre 6-1, 6-3, followed by Katherine Nguyen defeating Justie Spitzer on court six (6-1, 6-4).
The clincher for APU came on court three, where Vini Bautista defeated Westmont’s Arden Samuels by a score of 6-4, 6-3.
“Quite a few of the guys had really good matches,” assured Pierson. “Considering we only had two days of practice leading up, I thought we fought well. We had some people who had never played with each other as doubles partners before today. Having that perspective, I thought we played well today.
“Sophia was someone who stood out. From playing at five or six, to jumping to two, she had a really nice match today. Then, of the freshmen, Arden and Sabina Salva really stood out in their first collegiate matches against high-caliber opponents.”
The Warriors and Cougars will meet again on Friday, March 24, when the two teams will meet in Azusa.
“This will set the tone, not just for the level of tennis we want to play at, but also the level of tennis we are going to be playing at,” reflected Pierson. “We get to use this as a benchmark and then have that check-in when we play them again down the road.”
Next up on Westmont’s schedule is a road match at Caltech, which will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Pasadena.
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.