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A 4-0 first round victory by the UCSB women’s tennis team over UC Davis in the Big West Tournament lifted the spirits of the Gauchos on Friday. However, a 0-4 loss to Long Beach State on Saturday came with reverse emotions for Santa Barbara as it was knocked out of the tournament with the loss.
The fifth-seeded Gauchos ended their season with an 8-16 overall record and a 4-4 record in conference play. The fourth-seeded Aggies finished the season with a 12-10 overall record a conference record of 4-3.
Santa Barbara started the day with fierce play against Davis. With the first round victory going to the first team to achieve four team wins, UCSB attempted to end the match as quickly as possible.
The Gauchos earned victories in two of the three doubles matches with junior April Scatliffe and sophomore Luisa Ortiz Candido winning 8-7 and freshman Kaiulani Boyer and senior Kiersten Meehan winning 8-1.
Santa Barbara then needed just two victories from the singles matches, which it obtained from the sixth singles spot with sophomore Priscila Garcia defeating UC Davis’ Freshman Kamila Kecki 6-3, 6-2, and from the fourth singles spot with junior Stacy Yam’s victory over senior Nicole Koehly 6-0, 6-3.
With the first round upset over the fourth-seed, fifth-seeded Santa Barbara was set to face top-seeded Long Beach State, a team that went 19-2 in the regular season with an impressive 8-0 record in conference play.
As the 49ers had done to most of their opponents throughout the season, they dominated the Gauchos, ending their hopes of an underdog appearance in the Big West Tournament final. However, this did not occur before the Gauchos put up a steady fight, losing narrowly in many of the matches.
Long Beach promptly took all three doubles matches from the Gauchos with several notable victories. Freshman Maeva Razakasoa and freshman Hayley Thompson defeated UCSB’s freshman Jaimee Gilbertson and Garcia 8-6, and junior Karolina Rozenburg and freshman Holly Reid beat freshman Kaiulani Boyer and Meehan 8-6.
The 49ers then received their final two victories from the third singles spot with a win from freshman Julie Gerard over sophomore Boyer 6-3, 7-5, and the second singles match with a victory from sophomore Ebba Unden over junior April Scatliffe 6-1, 6-3.
With the season at a close for the Gauchos, the planning for next season begins. Yet, UCSB should look at this past year as a definite victory for many reasons. Even with the injuries of numerous players and the rebuilding of a newer team, Santa Barbara was still able to enter the Big West Tournament strong and gain a first round victory, a season-long goal of theirs.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of The Daily Nexus.