Jan. 23, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - The 2008-09 Cal State Fullerton women's tennis team opens the spring portion of its regular season this weekend with a double header against two San Diego schools.
The Titans will play the Toreros of the University of San Diego at 10 a.m., then face off against the San Diego State Aztecs at 3:30 p.m.
"These are two tough nationally ranked teams," Head Coach Bill Reynolds said. "It's going to be a learning opportunity for them. It will be tough physically, but we'll try to keep the spirits up. As long as they play hard like they said they will, they will learn and we will keep improving."
To get ready for the long day, Reynolds held a six-hour practice on Wednesday to help the team prepare for the conditions they will be face down in San Diego.
"Towards the end they were tired and hungry," Reynolds said. "That was the whole idea, to make it tough for them, make it long for them. That's the only way that you can prepare for a long day."
The Titans and Aztecs will both be facing each other in the second leg of a double header. The Aztecs are scheduled to play UC Riverside in the morning.
After only playing a few matches in the fall, Reynolds is happy with what he has seen from the team so far this year.
"I think the most important things are attitudes, and our attitude has changed a lot this year," Reynolds said. "This years team has lot better work ethic, and they are a lot more supportive of each other. The main thing is that the work ethic has improved a lot. Hopefully this new attitude turns into better play, and better play might turn into a few more wins."
Although Reynolds would like to see the team win a few more matches than it did last season, that isn't how he gauges success.
"Success to me is improvement of them," Reynolds said. "Whether they win or lose it's not that important, as long as there's improvement of the team. Then we're being successful. I don't want to measure the success of the team against anybody else or any other teams."
This year's team returns eight letter-winners from a year ago while only losing one. Shelly Injejikian, Cheyenne Inglis and Kathleen Doran will provide the senior leadership that last year's squad was missing. Juniors Jaycee Cruz and Brandy Andrews will both be counted on to contribute while sophomores Lani Agsalud, Karina Akhmedova, and Erin Wiesener will be ready to compete at higher level with their freshmen seasons behind them.
"I'm expecting the team to be a year older, more mature, and in other words better," Reynold said. "Now they will know how to handle situations better."
The Titans also have two newcomers to the team. Freshmen Fidelia Castillo and Leslie Bullock are the latest additions. In the fall Bullock was one of the top performers for the Titans, going 3-2 in her individual matches.
"She's a good player, she's got good work ethic and a good attitude," Reynolds said. "I'm looking for her to help out. Leslie has a lot of potential."
With all of the returning players and new talent, third year assistant coach Ruya Inalpulat thinks the team will have more flexibility.
"I think it's exciting because we have a lot more depth now," Inalpulat said. "People are almost going to be able to play at their level."
Reynolds knows that there is a long season ahead but he is upbeat about what he has seen from the team so far, and optimistic about the future.
"If they keep up the attitude that they've had in practice lately, the cohesion of the team will keep getting better and I expect some improvement," Reynolds said.