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The UCSB women’s tennis team looks to get back on track today against rival Cal Poly — ranked #67 in the nation — after its five-game win streak was snapped by #25 Pepperdine on Sunday. The Gauchos’ Big West opener against the Mustangs was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was rescheduled due to inclement weather.
[media-credit name="Lance Chu" align="alignright" width="128"][/media-credit]The Mustangs (8-3 overall, 2-0 Big West) are at the end of a five-game road trip, most recently defeating UC Riverside 7-0. The Gauchos, after falling out of the rankings with their loss last weekend, look to get back in the top 75 with a win. Cal Poly is currently the only ranked Big West team.
Head Coach Pete Kirkwood indicated last week’s loss was a reflection of Pepperdine’s skill more than anything else.
“It was great to get that match in [before conference play],” Kirkwood said. “We played at a pretty high level; Pepperdine is just a really good team. The number of games won doesn’t tell the story of our quality of play.”
Last season, the Mustangs topped the Gauchos 4-3, winning the doubles point and splitting the singles matches 3-3. UCSB’s #1 doubles pair, juniors Natalia Lozano and Jordan Dockendorf, lost for the first time this season against Pepperdine. They will go up against junior Amy Markhoff and sophomore Alexa Lee.
“Most conference matches are probably going to come down to the doubles point,” Kirkwood said. “Cal Poly has a history of playing really good doubles, so we’re going to have to step up to the challenge. Either way, we feel like we can win four singles match-ups [and win the match].”
The team hopes playing their rivals at home will give them an extra boost of confidence heading into conference play.
“If we have any advantage it would be that we’re playing at home and are more experienced,” Kirkwood explained.
“They have three freshmen in their singles line-up and two for doubles, whereas we have two freshmen and four juniors [in singles]. But they’re every bit as talented.”
Match time is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Rob Gym Courts.