The UCSB women’s tennis team had a challenging weekend in the Bay Area after a much needed weekend off. The Gauchos finished the weekend without a single win, losing 4-0 to Saint Mary’s and 5-2 to Cal.
Going into Friday’s matchup against St. Mary’s, things appeared to slightly favor the now 3-6 Gauchos.
However, the results from the match proved the opposite to be true. Despite an increased amount of focus on doubles play by Head Coach Simon Thibodeau and his players, the Gauchos were unable to contend with the Gaels in the fight for the doubles point.
The Gauchos’ star doubles pairing of seniors Palina Duvabets and Natalie Da Silveira were unable to compete with the Gaels No. 51 tandem of freshmen Hind Abdelouahid and Mariia Kozyreva, and ended up losing the game 6-0.
The Gaels duo of junior Clementine Clement and freshman Aubane Ville followed with another doubles victory against the Gauchos’ duo of senior Amanda Atanasson and freshman Lise Sentenac, which secured the doubles point for the Gaels.
Singles play proved to be slightly more competitive, with the Gauchos securing four set victories against the Gaels on the afternoon. While they were shutout in three consecutive singles games, the Gauchos left some of their more contentious games unfinished.
The games between Duvabets and Kozyreva, and Clement and Atanasson were both tied at one set victory a piece at the conclusion of the match, and the Gauchos might have avoided a complete shutout had the games been played out.
Following a tough loss to Saint Mary’s on Saturday, the Gauchos faced another challenging opponent on Sunday in No. 15 Cal.
The Gauchos clearly had their hands full with the Bears. Still, Sunday’s match wound up being much more competitive than their previous match, with a final score of 5-2.
The Gauchos got off to a good start in doubles play, with the senior duo of Duvabets and Da Silveira defeating the Bears’ tandem of freshmen Anna Bright and Julia Rosenqvist, 6-3. Things quickly turned on the Gauchos, however, who lost their following two doubles games to the Bears, leading to them trailing 1-0.
Things heated up in singles play, where the Gauchos tied the match with a dominant early victory from Sentenac, who won both her sets against Cal senior Audrey Mayer, 6-2 and 6-0. Cal’s No. 33 Olivia Hauger responded with a dominant win of her own, routing UCSB’s Da Silveira 6-2 in two back-to-back sets.
The Gauchos were able to tie the match again with another victory from sophomore Amit Lev Ari.
But the win wouldn’t last long as it ended up being the Gauchos last win of the afternoon. Following a promising 2-2 break for the Gauchos, the Bears took over in singles play, winning three consecutive games and securing a 5-2 victory.
The Gauchos put up much more of a fight against the Bears, who are one of many formidable ranked opponents that they have faced this year. Despite tough efforts by the Gauchos’ players, the team still remains 0-4 against ranked teams on the season.
The struggles in doubles play continued during UCSB’s weekend in the Bay Area, where the Gauchos lost their second and third consecutive doubles points against Saint Mary’s and Cal.
While doubles play seemed to be one of Coach Thibodeau’s main focuses during his team’s time off, it appears that the Gauchos still have a lot of work to do when it comes to gaining an early lead against opponents.
After a challenging weekend on the road, the Gauchos will return home this Saturday for a doubleheader against UC Davis and UC Riverside, in what will be their first Big West matchups of the year.