Warriors Stand Alone as GSAC Champs

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - April 21st, 2016

 

GSAC Tournament Champions ( Photo by Kaci Mexico)

GSAC Tournament Champions ( Photo by Kaci Mexico)

By Kaci Mexico
April 21, 2016

Earlier this season, seventh ranked Westmont Women’s Tennis became the Golden State Athletic Conference Regular season co-champions, alongside Arizona Christian. Today, the Warriors (10-7) stand alone as the GSAC Tournament Champions, after defeating the Firestorm (17-4) by a decisive score of 5-0.

“We are so excited about this win,” shared head coach Kendyll McManigal. “It was a team effort and everyone contributed. From the start we had great energy and really got some momentum.”

The Warriors harnessed momentum early on when they swept in doubles 3-0.

“Going up 3-0 after doubles was so pivotal,” continued McManigal. “Honesty I don’t think against a top team or rival we have ever done that. We strive for going up 2-1 and don’t always get two doubles points so three was extra special. It wasn’t easy. But the girls rallied and gained momentum when they saw their teammates winning.”

Fernanda and Chloe pulled out a solid win to start it off. Lauren and Isabel beat a very good doubles team with a convincing score. Then Ines and Haley pulled out a battle and made a great comeback to win at number two doubles.”

Playing at number three, senior Fernanda Rivera and freshman Chloe Celement earned the Warriors’ first point of the game when they defeated Lauryn Sullins and Desiree Curiel 8-3; at number one, senior Lauren Stratman and freshman Isabel Lee conquered Desiree Jackson and Mikayla Morgan 8-2; and at number two, junior Ines Costamagna and senior Haley Strandness were triumphant over Tia Okano and Lulia Marcenco 8-5.

“Going into singles we knew we needed two points but I challenged the girls that we needed more,” explained McManigal. “We needed 6 girls to step up rather than just two. And all 6 did just that.”

“Ines and Chloe each won the first set and continued to hold the lead in the second set,” continued McManigal. “Then Isabel and Haley who each lost the first set fought hard and each won their second sets to split and keep the momentum going for Westmont. Senior captains Lauren and Fernanda were the 4th and 5th point for us.”

Playing at number one, Stratman earned the Warriors’ fourth point when she defeated Jackson in two sets 6-2, 6-1; and at number six, Rivera clinched the game winning point when she defeated Lauren Garcia 6-3, 6-2.

Rivera and Stratman each reflected on today’s game:

“Winning the fifth point and clinching the match made me so happy,” explained Rivera. “I had had the decisive point against this team before and lost, so finally getting the win and also being the clinch is a great feeling.”

It feels so great to win,” continued Rivera, “especially because we won the GSAC Tournament my freshman year and I wanted to finish my senior season winning it again. I wanted the win so badly not only for me but for the whole team – it is my teammates who I play for. I am so excited for this win, and so proud of everyone.”

Stratman shared her thoughts on today’s victory: “We have lost really close matches to them in the past so it is great as a senior to finally come out and win. I pulled off my singles and my doubles, so I feel like I contributed and did my part – then I was happy to get off early and cheer for the others and see the final victory from Fernanda.”

Coach McManigal expressed her final thoughts on the Warriors’ performance.

“I am very proud of these women who brought out the best in themselves and each other today. They played one point at a time, one game at a time and drained out the Arizona Christian loud cheering section. Working hard at all the little things paid off today and we played great tennis as a team!

With this victory, the Warriors receive an automatic bid into the Women’s Tennis NAIA National Tournament that will take place on May 17-21 in Mobile, Alabama.

“Going into nationals we are going to have to keep doing what we are doing,” explained Stratman, “which is training hard and staying focused. I think we can go far; we are ranked seventh right now, so we have a chance to do really well this year.