After taking on some of the top teams in the nation at the ITA Kickoff last weekend, the Oregon women’s tennis team returned to its home courts on Friday. The Ducks (2-2) defeated Eastern Washington University’s (0-3) entire lineup, even winning exhibition matches at the end of the afternoon contest.
The flashy scoreboards reflected a victorious day, but the vibes in the Student Tennis Center were dull. Oregon still seemed to be recovering and rebuilding the confidence partially stripped from them on the East Coast a few days back.
The Ducks were dealt a difficult draw in North Carolina — they faced the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and competed with the Charlotte 49ers, who were NCAA tournament contenders last season. Oregon battled hard but was beaten up — and it showed.
Oregon started the match strong with a decisive doubles point. On Court 2, the duo of Candela Aparisi and Karin Young dominated Leandra Nizetic and Kelly Arends, 6-0. In a similar 6-0 fashion, Sophie Luescher and Nina Geissler defeated Isabella Foshee and Scout Mathews at the No. 1 position. Oregon’s Uxia Martinez Moral and Jo-Yee Chan had a tighter contest on Court 2 that went unfinished at 4-2.
Singles started slower than doubles and took the Oregon players a few games in the first set to settle in. On the top court, Luescher, with her efficient style of play, eased past the Eagles’ Jennifer Kida, 6-3, 6-3.
The second match to finish for the day was settled adjacent to Luescher on Court 3, on which Chan had a birthday battle. The just-turned-20-year-old was down two early breaks but found a way to turn it around — winning six games straight to secure the first set.
“Even though I was down 0-3, I knew I could take it one point at a time and mix up my game to find a way to win,” Chan said. “I was able to come back and be present and resilient.”
The sophomore settled into her groove and won the second set smoothly, 6-3. It was a wonderful win to celebrate her day.
“I think once Jo-Yee was able to adjust a bit of her playing style, things started to work in her favor,” Head Coach Courtney Nagle said. “Once she was able to adjust to her opponent, she was successful.”
It similarly took Aparisi some time to figure out a strategy for overcoming Arends. On Court 6, the first year Duck had quite the comeback. The Spaniard looked distracted and defeated during her first-set service games while her opponent ran for and returned every ball.
With encouragement from her Luescher — who was cheering her on from behind the baseline— to stay free and fight, Aparisi regained her rhythm. A combination of approach shots and deep groundstrokes to the corners of the court kept her alive and triumphant. The final score was a close 2-6, 7-5, (10-4).
Geissler had multiple match points in the second set but finally managed to score a win on Court 2 against Mathews, 6-2, 6-3.
After splitting multiple breaks with Nizetic, Young was able to hold in the last set and earn a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 win — improving her singles record to 6-2 for the 2023-2024 season.
Once the starters seized the team victory, they watched from the sidelines of Court 1 to cheer on Tilde Jagare and Olivia Simmons, who were playing singles exhibition matches. Jagare and Simmons seized their court time opportunities and won within 45 minutes.
Following Friday’s victory, Oregon improved its record to 2-2. This was Eastern Washington women’s tennis third-straight road match against a Pac-12 opponent, having played the University of Washington and Washington State University. Eastern is now 0-3 on the season, going 0-7 in all three contests.
Across every court, Oregon women were willing to win despite being devoid of their usual energetic enthusiasm.
“I think with each match, we will build confidence, and last weekend was a tough weekend, so getting this win and playing another great opponent on Sunday, we are going to look to keep building on that going forward,” Nagle said.
The Ducks are back in action on Sunday, Feb. 4, when they host Saint Mary’s College at 11 a.m. at the Student Tennis Center.