No. 18 UC San Diego Opens Exhibition Season at Home Against Nevada This Friday
The 18th-ranked University of California San Diego women's tennis program gets closer to the official start of its 2019 dual-match campaign with three exhibitions, all against NCAA Division I opposition, beginning this Friday, Jan. 18. The Tritons first welcome in Nevada of the Mountain West Conference Friday at 2 p.m. They will then travel to face future Big West Conference foe Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 1:30 p.m., and city rival San Diego State, like Nevada a Mountain West member, on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 12 p.m.
HOME MATCH POLICIES
Admission into all exhibition and regular-season contests at Northview Tennis Courts is free, but parking is only free on weekends. Parking permits on Friday can be purchased at machines located in all lots. Fans are encouraged to arrive early this Friday, as parking could be impacted at that time with classes in session. Parking options include the large oval separating Northview Tennis Courts and Triton Track & Field Stadium, the lot behind the Triton Soccer Stadium stands, or if both areas are full, the Hopkins Parking Structure behind RIMAC.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
Nevada and Cal State Fullerton will both be starting their dual-match schedules against the Tritons, while San Diego State first hosts Sacramento State on Sunday, Jan. 20. The Wolf Pack were an even 9-9 overall a year ago, the Titans a program-best 20-6 as the Big West Championship runners-up for the first time in their history, and Aztecs 10-13. The Tritons most recently dropped road exhibitions at both Cal State Fullerton and San Diego State ahead of each of the last two campaigns. They were downed 6-1 in their season opener in Fullerton three years ago. UC San Diego fell 6-3 at home to Nevada two months later on March 31, 2016.
UC SAN DIEGO LINEUP
UC San Diego has seven returners and two true freshmen making up its 2018-19 roster. Back is the No. 1 doubles tandem of fourth-year senior Ashley Chao (San Diego/Rancho Bernardo HS) and junior All-American Becky Chou, who were also the primary No. 1 and No. 2 singles players a season ago, respectively. Fourth-year seniors Madison Hale, Alexandra Weil and Chloe Wight join them, as well as juniors Valeria Corral (San Diego/Mater Dei Catholic HS) and Brittany Newton. Anu Bhadada (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and Shweta Kumar are the two rookies. Hale and Weil have teamed up in doubles in each of the past three years, to the tune of a 49-18 mark. The duo moved up from No. 3 to No. 2 last year, with Wight and graduated partner Nousha Nowamooz generally the No. 3 pair. In singles, Weil mostly played at No. 3, with Corral at No. 5 and Hale or Wight at No. 6. Chao has the most career singles wins of any current Triton, at 36, with Weil at 35.
MILESTONE 40 FOR COACH LIZ
This season marks the milestone 40th of legendary head coach Liz LaPlante in charge of the UC San Diego women's tennis program. She is the longest-tenured coach on the Triton staff, with fellow San Diego State graduate Denny Harper having just completed his 39th year at the helm of the men's water polo team. LaPlante has led UC San Diego to four national championships (1985, 1987, 1989, 1994) and five national runner-up efforts (1982, 1984, 1990, 1995, 2000), all at the NCAA Division III level, as well as seven California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) banners, all in succession between 2004-10, before the league stopped sponsoring tennis. The four national titles are still the third-most in Division III history. LaPlante's all-time dual-match record stands at 576-289. She has recorded winning seasons and posted double-digit victory totals in all but five of her campaigns. Her teams have had 20 or more wins on five occasions. The San Diego Union-Feature featured LaPlante this week. Read Tod Leonard's piece here.
UC San Diego captains this season are senior Madison Hale and junior Becky Chou, as voted on by their Triton teammates. Alexandra Weil, like Hale a fourth-year senior, is a member of the Triton Athletes' Council (TAC) Executive Board, in charge of fundraising. She will be back home in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 9, to accept the 2018 USTA Colorado Female Player of the Year Award.
In continuing efforts to better standardize college tennis across all NCAA levels and shorten the length of matches, the Tritons face several changes in 2019. There is no-ad (advantage) scoring in NCAA tennis, meaning the first point after a 40-40 deuce score in singles or doubles, ends that game. Doubles goes to six games and not eight, just like singles. You still have to win by two games, with a tiebreak coming into play at 6-6. The three doubles matches result in a single point, to whichever team wins two. Contests still begin with doubles, followed by a five-minute break, and then singles.
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020, and will play a full Big West schedule that season. During the transition, UC San Diego will be eligible for the NCAA Championship in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and men's and women's fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Men's volleyball became an associate member of the Big West for the 2018 season, and women's water polo will join the conference in the spring of 2020. Read the full press release here.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
Got some young Triton fans in your family? If they are in eighth grade or younger, check out the Junior Triton Club. Membership includes a free t-shirt, admission to over 100 UC San Diego home athletic events, and much more!
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UC San Diego will remain in La Jolla for the entirety of the month of February thanks to a season-long seven-match homestand, which kicks off with a key West Region tilt with Azusa Pacific on Friday, Feb. 8, at 12 p.m.
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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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Women's Tennis, follow on Instagram (@ucsdwomenstennis).