Long Beach State, UC Irvine Renew Women's Tennis Rivalry
Tennis Weekly Release No. 13
The two juggernaut Big West women's tennis programs – Long Beach State and UC Irvine – are both 6-0 in conference play and on another collision course for the regular season title. The rivals face off Saturday with the winner clinching the Big West Tournament No. 1 seed and at least a share of regular season crown.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Buckle Up: Another 49er-Anteater Showdown On Tap
Since the Big West instituted a round-robin schedule in 2006, Long Beach State and UC Irvine have combined for all eight regular season titles. UCI clinched the championship in 2007 and 2013, while LBSU won its first title in 2006 and reeled off five straight from 2008-12, with the 2011 crown a shared one with Cal Poly.
The 2014 championship will be determined by the same two schools. Undefeated at 6-0, the two rivals meet Saturday at LBSU’s Rhodes Tennis Center with the winner clinching no worse than a share of the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament.
Long Beach State is an impressive 54-3 (.947) in Big West regular season matches since 2006. In that same span, the 49ers own a 23-1 Big West Tournament record. Three of those four defeats have come to UC Irvine. The Anteaters won a tight 4-3 battle against the 49ers on Mar. 2, 2013, ultimately paving the way to an unblemished 9-0 league mark and their second regular season title. LBSU later returned the favor to UCI, defeating the Anteaters in a Big West Tournament final for the eighth time. The 4-1 victory by the 49ers snapped UCI’s 20-match win streak.
This year’s showdown could not look more evenly matched on paper. The 49ers are ranked No. 53 and the Anteaters No. 57 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll. UCI is riding an 11-match win streak, while LBSU has won six straight.
Crowded Men’s Standings Could Get Clarity
It’s anyone’s guess as to which team emerges as the Big West men’s tennis regular season champion. Hawai‘i and UC Santa Barbara are currently tied for first place at 2-0, while UC Davis and Cal Poly are each 2-1. Notably, the Feb. 16 UC Santa Barbara at Hawai‘i match was cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. It will not be made up. Seeking its first regular season crown since 2008, UCSB hosts upstart UC Davis on Friday. The Aggies (13-8) have clinched their first winning season as a Division I program, and aim for three Big West wins for the first time since joining the conference in 2008. Davis travels to Cal Poly for a Saturday match. Meanwhile, Hawai‘i returns to action on Monday at UC Riverside and finishes off its three-match roadtrip with a non-conference tilt at San Diego State Wednesday and the conference finale Friday versus UC Irvine.
A Decade And More At Indian Wells
Indian Wells Tennis Garden is hosting the Big West Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championship for the 11th consecutive year. One of the premier facilities in the United States that also hosts the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells will host all six men’s and nine women’s teams from April 24-27. The Long Beach State women won the tournament championship for the nine time in the last 10 years, while the UC Santa Barbara men became the first No. 5 seed to earn the title.