Illness Adds to Slump for Women’s Tennis

Brandon Hensley

Battling both sickness and a rough spot in their schedule, the Lady Vaqueros tennis team lost to Ventura College Thursday at GCC, 7-2.

The loss dropped Glendale’s record to 5-2 (3-2 in conference), concluding a week that consisted of two straight losses and an illness to their second-best player.
Sophomore Monique Palmera was out with bronchitis in the team’s watch against Cuesta College on March 3, a match in which Glendale was dominated, 9-0. She was able to play this time, although not at her full capacity.

“I’m feeling like I’m playing with half of myself,” she said after the game. Palmera lost her singles match to the Pirates’ Sarah Gifford 6-0, 6-1, but tried to downplay the disparity of the score. “A lot of the points in the second set, more than half of them were deuce, and I just couldn’t pull through. I just didn’t have the energy.”

The Vaqs’ lone singles victories came when freshman Sarah Aguilar defeated Katya Welborn in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 and freshman Minelli Ebrahimi beat Rachelle Landers in three sets as well, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Glendale was swept in the three doubles matches.

It didn’t help that Ventura (4-1) has one of the state’s top players in Ashley Litchfield. A sophomore who spent last season with Cal-State Fullerton, Litchfield was impressive in beating the Vaqs’ top player Meldia Hacopian in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3.

“She’s very tough,” Hacopian said of Litchfield. “I’ve looked at her scores with other teams, and she’s kinda murdered all of them, so I was kind of happy to do better than most other girls.”

Despite the performance of the team, Glendale feels it will be in the playoff hunt all season. The Western State Conference consists of solid teams top to bottom, including, Cuesta and Ventura, but up until last week the Vaqs were undefeated, so Hacopian thinks they can right the ship.
“If we have everyone [healthy], we have a good chance to beat any team,” she said.

Head coach and women’s athletic director Terry Coblentz was not as upbeat afterward.
“One of things I told the kids, we need to have a fire light underneath us,” she said.
Coblentz has not been pleased at her team’s approach recently.

“We wait too much for things to happen. We need to make them happen.” She continued, “We need to get our first serves in. We need to do that because that just puts too much pressure on you. You’re trying to hit through an opponent as opposed to around them, or alongside of them. You can’t hit through somebody. They’re waiting for it.”

Coblentz admired Palmera’s effort on the day. “I think she gave everything she had to give, but it’s just not enough at that level.”

Palmera suggested if she does not get back to full strength soon, she might be playing in only doubles matches, but Coblentz quickly dismissed the idea, calling her too important to leave out of singles play.
Glendale returns to action Thursday at Bakersfield.