With its season on the line, the UCSB women’s tennis team is ready to rumble. The Big West Tennis Championships kicked off yesterday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where the Gauchos enter as the #2 seed. The team plays its first match today against #7 UC Davis at 3 p.m.
“Everyone’s tough and Davis is going to be no easy match,” Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said.
[media-credit id=20114 align=”alignleft” width=”230″][/media-credit]Santa Barbara has been steadily improving its level of play as of late and it will certainly need nothing short of their best if they want a shot at winning the tournament. In order to win it all, the Gauchos must win today’s matchup, a semifinal match on Saturday and then come out on top in the championship match on Sunday. As any player will tell you, three matches in three days is no easy feat, but UCSB feels good about its chances.
“It’s going to be three tough matches in three days,” Kirkwood said. “When you get to the third day it really is survival of the fittest.”
All season long, UCSB has relied on strong doubles play and depth in singles to win them matches. Senior Bryanna Ojeda and junior Tova Hausman teamed up as a doubles duo late in the season and have been playing excellent tennis since then. Playing at the #1 spot, they are 5-1 as a team. Another improvement to the lineup late in the season was the return of junior co-captain Jill Damion from a shoulder injury.
As the #2 seed, the Gauchos do have a slight advantage. They play today’s match in the afternoon, as opposed to the #3-6 seeds, which play their first-round matches at 9 a.m. If Santa Barbara wins, this will give them some much-needed rest time before their next match.
The team is excited about their chances and Kirkwood shared his enthusiasm: “We’re ready for our path to the championship and we’re going to try to take it one match at a time.”