The No. 74 UCSB women’s tennis team ended the regular season with two wins, defeating Loyola Marymount 6-1 on Saturday and #60 UC Irvine 4-3 on Sunday. The Gauchos (13-9 overall, 5-3 Big West) finish the regular season as either the No. 4 or No. 5 seed heading into the Big West Tournament.
[media-credit id=20238 align="alignleft" width="250"][/media-credit] On Senior Day, the Gauchos took care of business against UC Irvine (10-12, 3-5 Big West) and gave seniors Jill Damion and Michelle Murphy a memorable finish to their regular season careers at UCSB.
“It’s good to walk away with a win, especially because Irvine is such a strong team,” Damion said.
UCSB won the doubles point with juniors Natalia Lozano and Jordan Dockendorf winning at No. 1 doubles 8-6 and Damion and freshman Kiersten Meehan winning at No. 3 doubles 8-6. Murphy and junior Sofia Novak lost No. 2 doubles 8-5 — their first loss as a doubles pair this season.
The Gauchos went on to split the singles matches, with wins by Lozano at No. 2, Meehan at No. 5 and freshman Paola Cos at No. 6. Damion struggled at No. 3, losing to Kristina Smith 0-6, 2-6.
“I played like crap, which was disappointing, but everyone else stepped up,” Damion said. “They didn’t want to let Michelle or me down.”
UCSB snapped their two-match losing streak with a win over LMU (6-1) on Saturday by sweeping the doubles matches and then winning all but the No. 1 singles match. In her first singles match since the season opener against Santa Clara, Murphy won No. 6 singles by defeating Elisaveta Pironkova in three sets, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6. Damion won the No. 3 match over Miya Jin 6-2, 6-0.
“That was good for me, it was the first match I won since before Spring Break,” Damion said.
The Gauchos now have almost two weeks to prepare for the tournament, where they will face Pacific in the first round. The Tigers beat UCSB 4-3 in Stockton last weekend, so the Gauchos are hoping to use this momentum and the time off to ensure a different result in the rematch.
“I think [the time off] should help; I have a lot of work to do,” Damion said. “But we’re definitely feeling better than before the weekend started.”
The Big West Championships start Friday April 29 in Indiana Wells.