UC Irvine (0-5) vs.
Seattle U (3-5)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 18
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Portland, Ore.
UC Irvine (0-5) at
Portland State (0-3)
Date: Monday, Feb. 20
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Club Green Meadows - Vancouver, Wash.
The UC Irvine women's tennis team stays on the road this weekend as it travels to Portland, Ore., for three matches in three days. The 'Eaters start the trip with a 9 a.m. neutral-site contest against Seattle U on Saturday, Feb. 18. They will then square off against Portland at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19, before heading to Portland State for a 9 a.m. showdown on Monday (Feb. 20).
• UC Irvine is searching for its first win of the season as it has dropped five tough matches to start the year.
• Three of those losses were 4-3 decisions, including two that went down to the final singles point (vs. SDSU, USF).
• The Anteaters have a young team with five freshmen and only one senior.
• Freshman Stephanie Nguyen is on a three-match win streak at No. 4 singles and owns a team-best 3-2 record.
• Junior Ashlynn Hall is coming off her second consecutive victory at No. 6, and hasn't dropped a set since Jan. 29.
• Junior Vivien Dvali is the Anteaters' active career leader with 25 singles wins (18 in dual matches).
• Freshman Constance Branstine has started the year at the top of the lineup in both singles and doubles.
• Interim head coach Elizabeth Ferris is in her first year at the helm of the program.
• Ferris spent the last three seasons as an assistant under long-time UC Irvine head coach Mike Edles.
LAST TIME OUT: UC Irvine dropped a 5-2 decision to Loyola Marymount in its first road match of the year Wednesday at the LMU Tennis Center. Freshman Stephanie Nguyen and junior Ashlynn Hall accounted for the Anteaters' points as they won their respective singles matches.
The Lions claimed the doubles point and took an early 2-0 lead in singles before Nguyen got UCI on the board with a straight-set triumph at No. 4. The San Jose, Calif., native shut out Anna Romeka in the first set and continued to cruise to the 6-0, 6-2 win. LMU would keep the pressure on the 'Eaters, however, as Siobhan Anderson topped senior Cassidy Branstine at No. 3 before Elvira Juravliova earned the match-clinching win over junior Vivien Dvali at the No. 2 position. Hall tacked on one more point for the Anteaters with a 6-3, 6-3 rout of Micheline Aubuchon.
A GLANCE AT SEATTLE: Seattle U (3-5) defeated Eastern Washington, 5-2, this past Sunday and will play at Portland before taking on the 'Eaters. Michelle Lui has three wins at No. 1 singles, while Caroline Maltby has a team-best 5-2 dual-match record, playing at positions 4 through 6.
SCOUTING THE PILOTS: Portland (1-5) is on a three-game skid and will host Seattle prior to welcoming UC Irvine to Louisiana-Pacific Tennis Center. Jelena Lazarevic has paced the Pilots with a 3-0 record at No. 2. She is coming off a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Lilian Poling of Boise State.
UC Irvine dropped a 4-1 decision to Portland at Anteater Tennis Stadium on March 6, 2016. The Pilots took two of three doubles matches for the early lead. Cassidy Branstine then tied it up with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Emily Gould at No. 6 singles, but UP proceeded to win the next three to clinch the dual.
ABOUT PORTLAND STATE: Portland State (0-3) is also looking for its first win this weekend as it hosts Montana State (Feb. 19) and UCI (Feb. 20). Tracy Dong leads the Vikings as she has gone 1-2 at the top two spots in the singles lineup this year. Dong was a 2016 All-Big Sky selection.
HOME SWEET HOME: UCI recently closed out a four-match homestand to open the 2017 campaign. Overall, the 'Eaters are slated to play 13 of their 21 regular-season contests at Anteater Tennis Stadium and Palisades Tennis Club (Newport Beach).
CALIFORNIA GIRLS: Every member of the UC Irvine women's tennis team hails from the state of California. In addition, five of them grew up locally in the Orange County area.
BACK FOR MORE: Junior Vivien Dvali was one of three 'Eaters named to the All-Big West Team last year as she earned second-team recognition in singles. The Valley Village, Calif., native won eight matches at the No. 2 spot and went 5-2 in conference play. She had a strong finish to the season, coming out on top in seven of her final 10 outings. Dvali is the Anteaters' active career leader with 25 singles victories, including 18 in dual-match play.
BLUE CHIP RECRUIT: Freshman Constance Branstine is a five-star blue chip recruit out of Villa Park High School. She paced the 'Eaters during the fall with a team-high five singles victories. The Orange, Calif., native had her best showing at the Jack Kramer Collegiate Invitational where she advanced to the semifinals. She has also played every match at No. 1 singles and doubles during the dual match season.
NGUYEN WINS: Freshman Stephanie Nguyen is 3-2 in singles play as she has won each of her last three matches at No. 4. The San Jose, Calif., native came from behind to defeat SDSU's Olivia Larsson, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-0, while she also topped Joselyn Treyes-Albarracin of San Francisco and Anna Romeka of LMU in straight sets. Nguyen added one victory during the fall when she upended Alaina Miller of UCLA, 6-4, 7-5.
IN THE ZONE: Junior Ashlynn Hall has also put together a mini run with back-to-back straight-set victories at No. 6. She has not dropped a set since Jan. 29.
UP NEXT: UC Irvine returns to the friendly confines of Anteaters Tennis Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 26, when it plays host to San Jose State at 11 a.m.