In the last home match of the 2014 season, the Dons took on the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Olympic Club on Saturday with a chance to capitalize on their growing momentum. Surging after their 6-1 victory on Friday, the Dons (14-7, 3-5 WCC) eviscerated the Bulldogs 7-0 to improve to 14-7 on the season and climb the West Coast Conference ladder. It was an outstanding team performance that saw every Dons singles player notch a win and put points on the board.
One of the most notable victories that took place on Saturday was junior Marina Nikolic’s 6-0, 6-0 over Melanie Gates of Gonzaga. Sophomore Andrea Ka didn’t blink en route to 6-0, 6-1 victory over Gonzaga’s Kylie Peek, and the lopsided affair continued her excellent play this season.
It was a true team effort for USF, with every active Dons player laying claim to at least one victory. Sophomore Sophia Holmberg was another Don who collected a win without much resistance from her opponent. Holmberg took down the Bulldogs’ Samantha Polayes 6-2, 6-1.
On Friday afternoon, in a WCC matchup that looked to help catapult either team into conference respectability, USF was able to come away with a 6-1 home win over the Portland Pilots.
Starting off the decisive victory for the Dons was a dominating performance from the team of Holmberg and freshman Thyra Taune, who defeated the duo of Maja Mladenovic and Tori Troesch 8-0. This game set the tone for the rest of the matches, as USF did not ease up on the Pilots from there. The Dons went on to put the first points on the board after the USF duo of junior Milica Hadzi-Tanovic and sophomore Brooke Irish clinched the doubles point by defeating Saroop Dhett and Marina Reimers 8-3.
The beginning of singles play featured Thaune, Irish and Nikolic nabbing crucial straight set victories over their opponents, widening the margin and giving the other players breathing room in their matches. In the match that pitted USF’s Ka against Portland’s Maja Mladenovic, spectators were treated to three one-sided sets, with the Dons’ Ka being able to pull out the victory, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. When the smoke cleared, the Dons were able to give a fitting birthday present to Holmberg, who turned 21, and leave the Olympic Club in better shape heading into the season’s final matches.
USF’s drubbing of Gonzaga and Portland marked the end of the home matches this year, and the Dons will finish the 2014 campaign with a formidable 7-1 record at home. San Francisco now closes out the regular season with a trip to Stockton, Calif. to play the University of Pacific on Friday, April 18, and will then prepare for the West Coast Conference Championships, which take place from April 23-26.