Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
True freshman Irvine product Shweta Kumar was the match clincher Saturday in Azusa.

No. 37 UC San Diego Posts Second Straight Huge 4-3 Road Victory, This Time at No. 15 Azusa Pacific

UC San Diego

AZUSA, Calif. - True freshman Shweta Kumar completed her come-from-behind victory on the No. 6 singles court as No. 37 University of California San Diego upset No. 15 Azusa Pacific Saturday at the Munson and Bavougian Tennis Complex.

UC San Diego's season-best fifth straight victory moves the overall record to 9-5. The Tritons are 4-0 on the road, all on this current season-long five-match road stretch. Azusa Pacific fell to 10-7.

The Tritons had lost four straight meetings with the Cougars, ranked No. 3 in the first Oracle/Intercollegiate Athletic Association (ITA) West Region poll. UC San Diego is No. 4. Saturday's result will undoubtedly go a long way in securing a return trip for the Tritons, to the NCAA Championship.

Kumar, out of Irvine (Northwood HS), lost a narrow opening set in a tiebreak, 7-6, (7-4), before routing her opponent Mikayla Rinker over the remainder, 6-1, 6-1. Tied at 3-3, hers was the last singles tilt to wrap up, and serving for the match, Kumar's forehand winner put the cap on a second straight dramatic 4-3 victory away from home for UC San Diego. The Tritons defeated future Division I and Big West Conference rival UC Davis last Friday, for the first time since 2005.

The Tritons won despite dropping the doubles point to begin the afternoon. Senior Ashley Chao (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and junior Becky Chou, who entered the national rankings this week as the No. 44 doubles pair, fell 6-3 to No. 41 Kara Hinton and Jacky Wagner at No. 1. Kumar and redshirt junior Chloe Wight dropped a 6-2 decision at No. 3.

With the doubles point clinched for the hosts, the No. 2 court was halted as fourth-year senior duo Madison Hale and Alexandra Weil were tied 4-4 and 30-30 with No. 46 Anna Savchenko and April Wong.

To begin singles, Chou made quickest work of Savchenko at No. 3, 6-2, 6-1, for her team-leading 11th win. It was the Aliso Viejo product's fifth in a row. Wong topped Wight at No. 5, 6-4, 6-0, to give APU back a 2-1 edge.

Junior Valeria Corral (San Diego/Mater Dei Catholic HS), who was missing due to a slight injury in two of the Tritons' three matches up in Northern California during their Spring Break trip last week, cruised to her eighth straight singles victory, all at No. 4, 6-2, 6-3. It is the longest win streak of any Triton this season.

Chao was upended by 23rd-ranked singles player Petra Ivankovic at No. 1, 6-2, 7-5. Once more, UC San Diego pulled even, as Weil fought off Hinton in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1. That readied the stage for the dramatic finish on Kumar's court.

"This was really a huge win for us in pretty windy conditions," exclaimed 40th-year UC San Diego head coach Liz LaPlante. "Everyone competed so well. We didn't let the loss of the doubles point affect us. (Second-year assistant coach) Denny (Fafek) did a great job coaching Shweta (Kumar) through (her singles) match."

UC San Diego concludes this road stretch across town at city rival Point Loma Nazarene University this Monday afternoon, April 8. The action at the PLNU Tennis Courts gets underway at 3 p.m. Point Loma is No. 5 in the West Region.

#37 UC San Diego 4, #15 Azusa Pacific 3
April 6, 2019 at Azusa, CA (Munson and Bavougian Tennis Complex)

Doubles competition
1. #41 Kara Hinton/Jacky Wagner (APU) def. #44 Ashley Chao/Becky Chou (UCSD) 6-3
2. #46 Anna Savchenko/April Wong (APU) vs. Madison Hale/Alexandra Weil (UCSD) 4-4, unfinished
3. Petra Ivankovic/Audrey Stewart (APU) def. Shweta Kumar/Chloe Wight (UCSD) 6-2

Singles competition
1. #23 Petra Ivankovic (APU) def. Ashley Chao (UCSD) 6-2, 7-5
2. Alexandra Weil (UCSD) def. Kara Hinton (APU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
3. Becky Chou (UCSD) def. Anna Savchenko (APU) 6-2, 6-1
4. Valeria Corral (UCSD) def. Jacky Wagner (APU) 6-2, 6-3
5. April Wong (APU) def. Chloe Wight (UCSD) 6-4, 6-0
6. Shweta Kumar (UCSD) def. Mikayla Rinker (APU) 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1

Match Notes
UC San Diego 8-5; National ranking #37; Regional ranking #4
Azusa Pacific 10-6; National ranking #15; Regional ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (3,5,4,1,2,6)
T-2:45 A-50

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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