Coming off its first win in last weekend’s road trip against Loyola Marymount University, the UCSB women’s tennis team looks to face a dynamic weekend duo of opponents in Washington State and the University of Washington, both of which will be away games.
In last week’s statement win over LMU, the Gauchos displayed enduring offensive skills winning in a 4-3 shootout. With four of the matches being decided by tie breaks, the Gauchos stayed confident and avoided costly unforced errors to topple LMU for the third straight year. UCSB hopes to continue its use of a skillful offense this weekend against the pair of teams from Washington.
The Gauchos (1-3) will first face Washington St. (5-1), which has been on an impressive run so far this season. In their last game, the Cougars rallied past Minnesota 4-3. Starting at first singles for Washington St. is Elizaveta Luzina who has been dominant for the Cougars, winning five of her last six matches. UCSB junior April Scatliffe will be facing Luzina in Saturday’s tough matchup.
“We need to be extremely resilient and ready to take on some tough opponents,” Scatliffe said. “It will definitely be tough, especially because they will have the indoor home court advantage, due to snow. Our energy will have to remain high for the entire time and each of us will have to be willing to step up and take chances when the opportunities present themselves.”
Santa Barbara will then head to Seattle where they will face the No. 41 ranked University of Washington (3-1). In Washington’s last match they faced Minnesota, outlasting the visiting team 4-3. Washington has had a commanding season thus far, impressively defeating UNLV 4-3 and Long Beach State 5-2; their only loss came to No. 8 ranked California. Washington will be one of the tougher opponents that the Gauchos have faced this season.
“We are really excited for this weekend because it will be a great experience flying out of state together to compete,” Scatliffe said. “We will also be playing our matches indoors for the first time. We are very prepared considering we played some great tennis last weekend in Los Angeles and San Diego and have been training hard.”
This weekend will be a great test for the Gauchos, who are still in the process of restructuring their lineup in order to give them their best chance of winning. The Gauchos will be without senior Kiersten Meehan for the second consecutive weekend due to an injury that Meehan suffered earlier in the season. Meehan has been an important aspect for the team and started at first singles in the home opener against San Francisco on Jan. 26.
The Gauchos will also be playing two matches in the course of 24 hours, but will have to travel from Washington State in Pullman to University of Washington in Seattle. This is a distance of nearly 300 miles. UCSB clearly has a difficult task ahead of them, and will look to upset two dominant teams this weekend in the Evergreen State.
Saturday’s match against Washington State is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., while Sunday’s match is scheduled for a 10 a.m. start time.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.