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EUGENE – The final road trip of the dual season is on tap as the Oregon women’s tennis team vies to get back into the national rankings when it faces a pair of top-50 opponents this weekend.
The Ducks (7-11, 1-6 Pac-10) travels to No. 47 Long Beach State and No. 24 San Diego on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s dual against the 49ers begins at 2 p.m. and Saturday’s tilt against the Toreros is at 10 a.m.
Oregon dropped a pair of conference duals to Pac-10 foes USC and UCLA at home last weekend. UO got strong efforts from Pavlina Smatova (No. 116 in the singles rankings) on both days. The senior held tough with top-ranked Maria Sanchez from USC last Friday, getting five set points before ultimately falling 7-5, 6-3 on Friday. Smatova came back the next day and upset UCLA’s No. 58 McCall Jones to improve to 10-8 in dual play and 18-13 overall on the singles court.
Long Beach State is 13-5 overall this season and 4-1 in the Big West Conference. Three players have won at least 12 singles matches during dual play for the 49ers with Rachel Manasse holding a 13-4 record playing mostly at No. 6, Sarah Cantley amassing a 13-5 mark with most of her time at No. 5 and Anais Dallara’s 12-5 record at the top spot.
San Diego is 14-4 overall and 3-2 in the West Coast Conference. Stephanie Hoffpauir checks in at No. 75 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles rankings and she teams with Juliette Coupez to form the No. 63 doubles pairing in the country.
Oregon last faced San Diego in 2009 and posted a 4-3 victory in Eugene. The Ducks and 49ers haven’t met since 2006, where Long Beach State upset then-22nd ranked Oregon 5-2.
Complete results and recaps will be available on GoDucks.com following each day of competition.
News and Notes:
Climbing the Ranks – Senior Pavlina Smatova achieved the highest singles ranking of her career with a No. 79 ranking on March 15. Smatova, who is 18-13 overall and 9-7 in dual play, checks in at No. 116 nationally.
Pulling Rank – Pavlina Smatova posted a win that will likely help her personal singles ranking when it comes out next week. The senior dealt UCLA’s 58th-ranked McCall Jones a 7-5, 6-3 loss in Eugene last Saturday, giving Smatova four victories over ranked opponents this season.
Double Time – Pavlina Smatova and Patricia Skowronski have been a force in doubles play this season, amassing an 20-10 record overall and an 11-6 mark in dual play. The duo spent time in the ITA national rankings, reaching as high as 45th on Feb. 14. The duo’s 20 wins ranks fourth on Oregon’s single season doubles list.
Clutch Win – Junior Trudie du Toit put the finishing touches on Oregon’s biggest dual win in six years with a clutch comeback win against Washington’s Vanja Radunovic. After dropping the first set, 6-4, du Toit won the next 12 games to pull out a three-set win and finish off a 4-3 upset of the No. 20 Huskies. The win shot Oregon into the national rankings at No. 54 and gave UO its first win over a top-25 team since March 22, 2005.
Pulling Rank – The Ducks have spent time in the ITA team rankings in every season under head coach Paul Reber after cracking the top 75 on March 15. UO has been ranked in the top 50 in three separate seasons under Reber, most recently during the 2008-09 campaign (45th). Oregon cracked the top 25 in 2007, reaching as high as 22nd and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.