Lasers open season with double victory

Rodrigo Azurmendi

Irvine Valley College men’s and women’s tennis season got underway on a positive note as both achieved easy victories against Long Beach City College on Jan. 31.

The more experienced men’s team cruised to a 9-0 victory while the almost brand-new women’s team won two matches by default, helping them close the deal with a 6-3 win.

“We have three returners who have improved immensely,” said Lasers men’s head coach Mike Meissenburg. “Also, our newcomers [freshmen Huy Nguyen and Ricky Echanique] will be at the top of the lineup at both singles and doubles.”

Returning at No.1 was Jet Tabu, won a hard-fought first set, before cruising on the second to clinch the 6-4, 6-1 victory for the men’s Lasers.

“I was a little rusty at the beginning,” Tabu said. “Then I was able to adapt to the conditions of the sun and closed it.”

Nguyen finished his business quickly with a double 6-1 score. Sophomores No.3 Alvin Lo and No. 4 Tony Ly also had straight set wins, as well as freshmen Devin Moran and David Theis. No. 5 Moran won 6-4, 6-1 and No. 6 Theis won 6-1, 6-3.

With the contest decided, the doubles were played in the 8-game pro set modality. The Lasers men’s excelled at this as they only dropped two games combined in all three matches. Tabu/Nguyen won 8-2, while Jon Ormont/Tony Lo and Ly/Moran had 8-0 wins respectively. The score reflects the coach’s expectations for the season.

“I’m expecting a solid season,” Meissenburg said. “Our first goal is to go undefeated in pre-season. After that, we’ll deal with the conference [schedule], which is the toughest in the state.”

The lady Lasers didn’t have a smooth ride but still managed to pull off a 6-3 victory after the short-handed Vikings forfeited their No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles matches. The didn’t start favorably for the Lasers as No. 1 Carli Churm and No. 2 Michelle Lavone dropped their singles matches.

Although being one of the two returning players for the Gauchos, Churm managed to get two games from the Vikings top player, losing 6-2, 6-0.

“I’m still proud for Carli,” said Lasers women’s coach Joan Meissenburg. “She moved well and fought for every point. We’ll grow from the experience.”

While No. 2 Lavone dropped her match 6-4, 6-1, the lower seeded Lasers came to the rescue to turn the scoreboard around. Freshmen No.3 Emily Davies (7-5, 6-3), No.4 Nedra Jenkins (6-1, 6-2) and No. 5 Heather Withers (6-4, 6-0) put the Lasers ahead. Sophomore Ashley Katnik, returning from an injury that forced her to miss time last season, wasn’t able to complete her comeback as Long Beach City College was unable to present a singles player at No. 6

“I was very excited because it was my first match in college,” freshman Davies said. “I felt very good playing today. My goal is to have fun this season.”

At doubles, Lasers No. 1 Churm/Lavone completed their off day with another loss, this time with a 8-4 score. No. 2 Davies/Jenkins won their match 8-5 while No.3 Dana Bortz and Wanda Trong won by default.

“I think we’re gonna have a strong season,” Joan Meissenburg said. “We’re a deep team and we have a cohesive group. [The girls] are very competitive and they never give up.”

Both Lasers teams stand with 1-0 records and play together again next Tuesday when they both visit Mt. San Antonio College at 2 p.m.

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