The weekend storm followed the UCSB women’s team down the coast to Long Beach State on Saturday, where the Gauchos dropped their second consecutive Big West match, 6-1.
Junior Shiho Fuloushima provided the sole bright light in the bleak day for a singles victory (7-6, 4-6, 6-3), but that was all they could muster on a bleak afternoon.
Despite the lopsided score, the match was a close battle until the end. Two of the matches went a full three sets, while the other Gauchos did not give up without a fight.
"Long Beach was a really good team," senior Gaby Andrade said. "For the most part, we all played well, we just can’t seem to find a way to close the match."
Fuloushima agreed with her teammate about the competitiveness Santa Barbara displayed against the Beach.
"Everyone did really well," she said. "It was a game we could have definitely pulled out. We just couldn’t seem to get that finish."
Weather conditions did not help the plight of the Gauchos on a day that began on a rough note.
"We had bad circumstances travelling in the bad weather," freshman Anne Marie Lenz said.
The Gauchos embarked on their wet voyage down Highway 101, unsure if the weather would permit them to play the match. Upon their arrival at the Beach, the match was delayed for three hours. Once the rain eased its way into cold and breezy conditions, the teams had 20 minutes of warm-up time before they began doubles play.
"We don’t want to use the bad weather as an excuse, but it’s not easy to play in the conditions we were in," Andrade said.
Despite a 0-7 start to their season, including a 0-2 record in the Big West, the Gauchos remain extremely positive about their season. The players attribute this attitude to Head Coach Pete Kirkwood.
"He is very supportive and very positive with us," Lenz said. "He knows that we are working hard and that it’s just a matter of time before we get the results we are looking for."
The Gauchos are working hard as a team, while trying to remain mentally and physically strong as the season wears on. They have the components of a winning club, but it’s too early to call the season a wash. The team said that gaining the confidence of that first win to get things going for them will be the key to their success this year.
"We just need to get that first win," Fuloushima said. "Once we do that, I think that they will keep coming."
During a slow start like the one this team has endured this season, it is important to keep things in perspective and recognize the positive aspects around them.
"The team grows together during hard times and that’s what we are going through right now," Lenz said. "It’s only going to make us stronger in the end."
The skies for the Gauchos do not get any clearer as they head up north this weekend to Stockton to face Nevada and Idaho for two days, then to Fresno for a day to battle Fresno State. UCSB will conclude the road swing by heading back to Stockton for one last match against Pacific.
"We are playing four back-to-back games after a lot of traveling," Lenz said. "We are ready to win though."