In its last two matches of the regular season, the UCSB women’s tennis team took care of business, ensuring themselves the #2 seed in the upcoming Big West Championships. Santa Barbara swept Portland on Friday before taking care of UC Riverside on Senior Day on Sunday. The Gauchos finish their season 12-10 overall, with a 6-2 conference record that puts them in a three-way tie for second place within the Big West.
The Gauchos had an easy time against Portland, dropping just one set on their way to a 7-0 victory against the Pilots. In doubles, seniors Bryanna Ojeda and Tova Hausman rolled over the opposing team 8-3 in the #1 position and sophomores Jordan Dockendorf and Natalia Lozano had a closer match at #2 doubles, but prevailed in the end 8-6. Portland defaulted in the #3 position and UCSB took the doubles point.
In singles action, Portland was no match for the talent of the Gauchos. Santa Barbara won matches at the #1, #3, #4, and #5 positions all in straight sets and received another Pilot default at the #6 spot. The most dramatic part of the match came from Lozano at the #2 position. After winning the first set 6-0, Lozano found herself up 4-1 with the end in sight. However, her opponent battled back with 5 straight games to take the second set 6-4. Lozano was able to pull it together in the end and won the match with a 7-5 third set.
“I’m glad she was able to regroup and pull out the third set,” Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said. “It was a good battle.”
In Sunday’s pivotal conference matchup, UCSB stepped up to the plate in a big way, beating UCR 6-1. The Gaucho doubles teams won two of the three sets on their way to capturing the doubles point. Ojeda and Hausman won with ease by a score of 8-0 while junior Jill Damion and senior Asagi Onaga also had little trouble, taking care of their opponents 8-3. Santa Barbara suffered defeat, however, at the #2 position where the Riverside tandem of Nadia Sakhakorn and Donna McCullough took down Lozano and Dockenforf 8-5.
“It was a tough match to get through but we played well enough to win it and our expectations and our level of play are pretty high right now,” Kirkwood said.
Riverside garnered their sole point of the match in singles play as Sakhakorn beat Gaucho #1 Sofia Novak 7-5, 6-4. In the #2-5 positions the Gauchos did not drop a set to their opponents. Most impressive of these victories was Ojeda’s 6-2, 7-5 win at the #5 spot. This win puts Ojeda’s singles record at 13-0 for the season in dual match play. Other notable wins came from Hausman and Onaga, ensuring that all three of the Gauchos seniors won both their singles and doubles matches on Senior Day.
“It was great to see [the seniors] all win,” Kirkwood said. “It’s always an emotional thing to see them playing their last match.”