Los Angeles, CA- Despite playing with just five, Hope International women's tennis won six of the seven matches actually played as they beat Occidental 6-3 on Friday for its first win of the season. Junior Alyssa Pritchett won the deciding match in a come from behind three set thriller.
The match started with a slight twist as the two doubles matches played opened the day but with number five singles starting at the same time.
Down 2-0 before delivering a serve, the Royals came out and played two of their toughest matches in doubles action.
Sophomore Sabrina Miller and Junior Alyssa Penner came out in front of Oxy's Keilani Bonis-Ericksen and Amber Gadsen in doubles number one. The HIU duo held off the Oxy duo 8-5 to earn the first point for the Royals.
On the second doubles court, Juniors Ariana Cobos and Sarah Melendez went up 4-1 against Lucy Mollach and Isabela Korfman. But the Oxy tandem responded by taking the next four games for a 5-4 lead. The match went back and forth from there until it was tied at 7-7. But Cobos and Melendez prevailed and pulled out the 9-7 win to tie the team match at 2-2.
With the number five court already playing, the rest of the singles joined in on the action.
Cobos rolled up a clean sheet of 6-0 and 6-0 over Jesse Hernandez in number two singles to become the first singles match done.
Penner had little trouble with Gadsden on court three winning 6-1 and 6-1.
The Tigers earned their lone playing win of the match on court one when Miller fell 6-1 and 6-1.
Courts one through three were all done before Pritchett and Hannah Munkasci were done on the fifth court. Munkasci won the opening set 6-3. Pritchett came roaring back though and build a 5-0 lead in the second set. After surrendering four straight games, Pritchett closed out the set with a 6-4 win. They went on to the third set where Pritchett went in front 4-1 and then 5-2 before winning 6-4. With Pritchett's win in the two and a half hour singles match, HIU grabbed their fifth point to earn the team win.
On the fourth singles court, Melendez beat Malloch beat 6-1 and 6-1 as they were the last match to finish.
Head Coach Ryan Young stated, "It was a great team effort today. We got contributions from everyone and really played a great match. Even starting two points down, the ladies rallied around each other and got the ball rolling with a solid showing in doubles that parlayed into strong singles play."
The Royals will little time to celebrate their first win of the season, as they will return to the match action on Saturday. The Royals will meet up with BYU-Hawaii on the neutral courts of Biola tomorrow. The women will play after the men starting at about 2:00 pm.