A full slate of matches lies ahead of the UCSB women’s tennis squad as it will be playing three games over five days against the University of San Diego Toreros, University of Denver Pioneers and the No. 11 Pepperdine University Waves.
UCSB goes into this week’s trio of matches with a 5-6 record.
The Gauchos were victorious in the lone game they played last week against the University of New Mexico Lobos with a score of 4-0.
Despite the game being delayed due to inclement weather, Santa Barbara was able to come out with the victory, winning every match played in singles play and being able to clinch the doubles point.
The Toreros are currently 4-5 and are on a two-game winning streak. The two-game winning streak began at a time where the Toreros lost three straight games, with two losses coming against ranked opponents, No. 20 UCLA and No. 30 Arizona State.
San Diego performed well in its last game against Brown University, where the Toreros came away with a victory at 6-1. Doubles play was strong for USD, as they clinched the doubles point in two straight sets.
In singles play, the Toreros were able to win all of their matches except for one. The success in their most recent matches has given San Diego the opportunity to have a .500 record for the first time in over a month, since Feb. 5.
The chance to continue their winning momentum will be a strong motive for a team that is looking to pick up its first away win of the season.
After Thursday’s match against the Toreros, the Gauchos will play the No. 39 University of Denver Lady Pioneers, who are UC Santa Barbara’s first ranked opponent since their matchup against the No. 25 Washington Huskies. The Denver Lady Pioneers are 7-3 and are also coming into their match with UC Santa Barbara with a two-game winning streak.
Denver’s latest game against the Oregon Ducks ended in a 4-2 victory for Denver.
The Lady Pioneers pair of No. 12 junior Julia O’Loughlin and senior Maureen Slattery were victorious in that match 6-1, and the tandem will surely give the Gauchos’ own doubles pairs some trouble.
Singles play has been a strong suit for Denver as it is currently on a two-game winning streak, as the team has only dropped one decision out of 10 singles matches.
The team effort shown by the Gauchos this past weekend will be needed against a team that has shown an ability to succeed against talented rosters.
UC Santa Barbara will find itself traveling for a brief one-game road trip when they play against the No. 11 Pepperdine Waves.
The well-equipped roster of the Waves isn’t the only problem for the Gauchos, as UCSB has seen four of its six losses come from ranked opponents.
Pepperdine is the highest-ranked team the Gauchos have played against all season, and they will have to compete with some exceptional players.
The Pepperdine Waves have four ranked singles players: No. 6 sophomore Luisa Stefani, No. 15 freshman Ashley Lahey, No. 27 junior Mayar Sherif Ahmed and No. 80 junior Laura Gulbe.
Pepperdine also has two ranked doubles teams: No. 3 senior Christine Maddox and junior Mayar Sherif and No. 49 sophomore Luisa Stefani and senior Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai.
The talent possessed by Pepperdine will keep the Gauchos’ hands full and will make the team work hard to earn the victory.
The UCSB Gauchos will play the University of San Diego Toreros on Thursday, March 9, at 10 a.m. and the University of Denver Pioneers on Friday, March 10, at 10 a.m. Santa Barbara will travel for its last game against Pepperdine on Sunday, March 12, at 11 a.m.
A version of this story appeared on p. 9 of the March 9, 2017, edition of the Daily Nexus.