The West Virginia University women's tennis team lost its final home match of the season, 5-2, to California (Pa.) on Saturday afternoon.
The match was also the Mountaineers' first home outdoor match of the year, as it was played on the outdoor courts adjacent to the Coliseum.
"That was a solid Division II team that we played today," said coach Tina Samara. "We can see why they were able to beat other Division I schools this season. They have a solid lineup from top to bottom, and there is no doubt they have girls that would be successful in Division I play."
With WVU conceding the No. 3 doubles match and the No. 6 singles match, the Vulcans owned an early 1-0 advantage.
In doubles play, the Mountaineers were able win the first match, as junior Emily Mathis and senior Veronica Cardenas came away with an 8-4 victory.
Despite the win by the WVU duo, California was able to earn the doubles point, as its knocked off the Mountaineers' team of freshman Ikttesh Chahal and sophomore Mary Chupa.
"In order to win today, we needed to put the pressure on them early on in the match," Samara said. "But, they were able to do that to us instead. We were on the defense instead of being on the offensive and aggressive."
With California carrying a 2-0 lead now, WVU hoped to mount a comeback attempt.
The Vulcans thwarted any comeback that the Mountaineers could build, however, as they won the first three singles matches to be completed.
WVU was able to score victories in the two remaining matches, though, as senior Catie Wickline and freshman Ikttesh Chahal each earned a win.
Chahal dropped the first set of her match against Anastassiya Zherdeva, 1-6, but battled back to win the final two sets, 6-2, 6-2.
"There have been a good amount of highs and lows with Ikttesh this season, but we are beginning to see a change in her," Samara said. "Over the past couple of weeks, she has been more consistent, and we have seen more of the player we would like to see."
In Wickline's match, the senior from Orchard Park, N.Y. won the first set 6-1, fell in the second set 0-6 and then closed out the match with a thrilling third set victory in the tiebreak.
"That was Catie's first win in the dual match setting," Samara said. "Obviously, she hadn't had a whole lot of opportunities in the year's prior, but you can't write it any better than that. She had to earn that match."
The Mountaineers will conclude their regular season next weekend, as they will travel to New Jersey for matchups against Seton Hall on Saturday and Rutgers on Sunday.
No. 1: Martina Rubesova (CUP) def. Mary Chupa (WVU), 6-3, 6-4
No. 2: Annabel Pieschl (CUP) def. Emily Mathis (WVU), 6-4, 6-0
No. 3: Jade Pondicas (CUP) def. Veronica Cardenas (WVU), 6-2, 6-1
No. 4: Ikttesh Chahal (WVU) def. Anastassiya Zherdeva (CUP), 1-6, 6-2, 6-2
No. 5: Catie Wickline (WVU) def. Franziska Steinhardt (CUP), 6-1, 0-6, 7-5
No. 6: CUP def. WVU, default
No. 1: Rubesova/Steinhardt (CUP) def. Chupa/Chahal (WVU), 8-4
No. 2: Mathis/Cardenas (CUP) def. Pieschl/Pondicas (CUP), 8-4
No. 3: CUP def. WVU, default