Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams Dominate Conference Openers With Victories Over Bakersfield

FELICIA MASTO
El Vaquero Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s tennis teams have began their conference with opening victories.

The men’s tennis teams posted a 5-4 victory February 6 over Bakersfield to open its 2003 conference season.

The squad, under the direction of Coach Bob MacKay, did not partake in preseason play and was missing two top players yet built a strong foundation in the Western State Conference opener.

Leading the team was returning sophomore Ashara Surabi, who took his singles matches 6-0, 6-4, while Roland Nazarian also posted scores of 6-0, 6-2.

Also contributing with singles wins were Philip Lamb, 6-4, 6-4, and Gevork Kirakosian, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3.

The efforts of Surabi and Nazarian will probably be vital for the Vaquero men’s success according to coach MacKay.

As standout singles players, their combined skills to form a strong doubles team will be invaluable as well.

The two men helped seal the team’s victory with 7-5, 6-7 (7-5), 6-3 wins in doubles.

“Bakersfield is always very respectable,” said MacKay, adding that “this is a pretty tough conference.”

He said he is confident that his squad will be a stronger contender in the WSC, noting that if the players work as a team, victory is attainable.

Weather conditions have put a hold on two of the team’s matches already, yet according to its coach, the focus remains on upcoming matches. “I’m looking forward to it,” MacKay said.

In its conference opener, the Vaquero women’s tennis team tallied a 5-4 victory February 6 over Bakersfield.

The squad brought preseason experience, including a San Diego tournament and a victory against Rio Hondo, to the outing.
According to coach Terry Coblentz, the women hope to build off this foundation and are enthusiastic about the season.

Leading the team is freshman Cindy Gomez, whose strength powered her to 6-0, 6-1 wins in singles.

Freshman Felicia Masto also contributed in singles, posting 6-1, 6-3 wins, along with sophomore Ani Balabegian, who rallied to win her sets 7-5, 6-4. Balabegian teamed with sophomore Alicen Ostash, the team’s captain, to notch a key 6-1, 7-5 win in doubles.

Gomez and Masto combined to create the top spot in doubles and managed to edge their opponents, 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-3 in what turned out the be the deciding match.

Sophomore Natasha Badkoubei and freshman Anna Babaian gave strong performances and should prove to be vital components in upcoming matches, according to Coblentz.

The team evened its record to 1-1 on Tuesday with a trip to Allan Hancock College, when it was defeated 3-6. Gomez had another strong outing, edging out 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 wins in a grueling singles match.
Ostash also stepped up and claimed victory in singles, 6-4, 6-3. The only other victory came from the solid doubles team of Ostash and Balabegian, who outlasted their opponents, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5.

A hopeful Coblentz said she is thrilled with the team’s performances thus far.

“The five and a half hour Bakersfield match just proves the determination that the team possesses.”