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With a strong conference win recorded last Saturday against Cal State Fullerton, the UCSB women’s tennis team looks to carry the momentum to the Bay Area, where it will face San Jose State this Saturday.
After defeating Fullerton last weekend, the Gauchos improved to 2-7 overall with a conference record of 1-1, while San Jose St. currently sits with a 4-8 record.
UCSB, which received its first win after a five-match losing skid, has been focusing heavily on making its team stronger and healthier. With injuries plaguing the Gauchos thus far into the season, they look forward to hopefully having a healthy squad for the first time in weeks in Saturday’s game against San Jose.
“Winning conference matches is important for us, but we need to remain just as focused this weekend,” junior April Scatliffe said. “We need to treat every match like it’s a conference match so we will be ready for the Big West tournament in April. We’ve been working on our doubles play and our consistency in our singles play. We’ve been working on being aggressive when the opportunities present themselves.”
The Spartans find themselves on a two-game winning streak, but previously fell into a horrific losing streak of seven games. In their last two matches however, they have beaten difficult opponents in Cal Poly and Pacific.
In its last match, San Jose State uprooted Pacific in a commanding 5-2 victory. UCSB lost to Pacific in a tough decision on Feb. 16 by a 6-1 margin.
Starting at first doubles for the Spartans is freshman Marie Klocker who has had an impressive first year. In Klocker’s match against Cal Poly, she displayed a superb sequence of endurance defeating her opponent 7-6, 3-6, 6-0. A very impressive stat comes from Spartan senior Sabastian Leon Chao who won her 119th match against Cal Poly; with that victory Chao boosted herself to second place all-time on the Spartan’s career win list.
This is without a doubt a strong and imposing Spartan team; UCSB will have to arrive riding the taste of victory it received from its impressive win at Fullerton. The Gauchos have been in a season-long pursuit for improved mental strength and physical stamina. If Santa Barbara can harvest these two components, then it has a good chance of gaining the advantage over San Jose St. this Saturday.
“The biggest challenge will be dealing with various injuries, which can lead to some confidence issues,” Scatliffe said. “Everyone is doing their best to stay or get healthy and compete as hard as possible no matter what obstacles we face.”
The Gauchos are set to take the courts this Saturday at noon.
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.