The UCSB women’s tennis team went head to head against the Harvard Crimson on Saturday and suffered its second home loss since February’s matchup against Washington State leaving them with a record of 6-6.
Harvard now stands at 10-6 for the season after beating Santa Barbara then Fresno State the following day by the score of 4-2.
The Gauchos have lost 4-3 in five close matches against top teams this year, keeping all of its losses within reach but have yet to capitalize on the opportunities. This week was especially tough for Santa Barbara especially because they had to prepare not only for the Crimson, but also against the dreaded end of quarter exams that could have contributed to the team’s performance.
“I have to give credit to Harvard they fought at each possession and they are a tough team they beat fresno state, and we didn’t underestimate them,” Said Head Coach Simon Thibodeau. “Practice was altered due to final exams it was tough to switch gears from finals and back at it. But no excuse. Need more consistency and hang out the court a little longer to make sure we do everything we can.”
The Crimson undoubtedly have just as a demanding academic responsibility but on the other hand Harvard have now won five straight and have been on the winning end of eight of its last ten matches making up for the slow start to the campaign.
They are 3-2 on the road and will be at home to commence Harvard’s Ivy League Conference contests against Cornell and Columbia.
UCSB started Saturday’s matchup strong as it swept in the doubles portion to seal the point. The first to finish was the Gaucho duo consisting of sophomores Lou Adler and Amanda Atanasson as they defeated senior Amy He and sophomore Nikki Kallenberg 6-3.
Adler and Atanasson are 10-6 overall, 6-3 in dual matches, and proving to be an efficient pair but have played mostly at the three spot winning all six matches while losing three times at the two spot.
The next match ended in the same score as the first as junior Melissa Baker and freshman Stephanie Yamada beat freshman Erica Oosterhout and junior June Lee who are 4-8 as a pair. Baker and Yamada on the other hand are 3-2 winning two straight and demonstrating consistency at the second slot.
The last doubles match to finish was between the 18th best pair in the country against sophomore Annika RIngblom and freshman Sabrina Xiong that were 5-1 together prior to the start of the matchup.
Sophomore Palina Dubavets and junior Stefani Stojic handed them their second dual loss of the season by beating the Crimson pair 6-4. Stojic and Dubavets are 17-3 overall and 7-1 in dual play, all at the the one for UCSB.
After securing the first point, Santa Barbara managed to increase its lead by two when sophomore Dubavets beat sophomore Kallenberg in the singles portion of the contest in two sets winning both 6-2. However, UCSB would go on to lose the next four in singles to lose the match.
The other half of the powerful Gaucho duo faced off against the sophomore she had just gotten off the court against in doubles. Ringblom and Stojic went all three sets. The first set finished in favor for SB finishing 4-6.
However, after winning the first Stojic lost the next two by the scores of 6-4 and 6-3 in a close contest. This match was Stojic’s first coming off an injury where she took three weeks off.
“It bugs her a little bit more during practice, but she (Stojic) was up 6-4 and it might have been rust seeing as she hasn’t played in three weeks.” Said Coach Thibodeau. “This is not just on stefani but all the matches that could have gone the other way. I believe she will step it up in the future and she is motivated to do so, and I look forward to seeing her do it”.
Another key matchup was between a highly anticipated encounter between senior Amy He and sophomore Natalie Da Silveira. Both came in with positive singles records and multiple consecutive wins. He and Da Silveira have played consistently at the six and that is where they met on Saturday.
After a tough and back and forth game He was able to steal the first set winning 7-6. The second set on the other hand, it seems as if He was able to figure out the young Brazilian and continued to get the ball past her six more times as she won 6-1 to give the Crimson its first point of the dual.
After which Harvard went on to carry the momentum from that big win to win the next three as the tide began to turn against the Gauchos after these crucial points went the other way.
“We are usually strong at the bottom positions. The second set with Natalie i thought she would come back but then was down 4-0.” Said the Santa Barbara Head Coach. “But we have to move forward we have to finish our matches.”
Sophomore Lou Adler defeated junior June Lee in three sets, 6-7,6-3, and 6-1 to grant UCSB its third and final dual point. The match finished 4-3 in favor for the Crimson.
UCSB will have to shake off another close loss and prepare for a quick turnaround as it takes on No. 24 Fresno State on Monday, March 21 at 11 a.m at the Rec Center Courts.