It has taken them a while, but the UCSB women’s tennis team sliced and diced its way over Riverside at Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon.
The Gauchos waltzed their way to a 7-0 sweep to notch their first victory of the season in a match where none of the games extended to a final third set. After winning the doubles point for the first time this season, there was no looking back for Santa Barbara.
“We’ve been struggling in doubles all year,” senior Gaby Andrade said. “It’s been difficult for us to get two out of three doubles teams to win. It takes some pressure off when you do get that doubles point.”
After enduring a winless season, where injuries, excessive travelling and bad weather have plagued the team, the team was intent all week in practice on getting that elusive first victory that opened its March home stay.
“It’s about time,” junior Shiho Fukushima said. “We actually started to play our game. That’s definitely what we needed. It gave us a lot of confidence.”
After the duos of junior Cindy Ammann and senior Shannon Wilkins, and Andrade and freshman Anne Marie Lenz combined to secure the doubles point for the Gauchos, Santa Barbara headed into its singles matches fired up and ready to play.
In the #1 singles spot, Ammann came away with an impressive 6-1, 6-1 victory, while Lenz, in the two spot, nailed a 6-2, 6-0 win. Wilkins sealed a win with a 6-1, 6-3 performance. Andrade bagged a 6-2, 6-0 win, while Fukushima battled off a case of the nerves to win the match 7-5, 6-2. Freshman Vanessa Everly’s 6-0, 6-2 victory sealed the Gauchos’ first victory in grand fashion.
“After this game, we showed that we are really going in the right direction,” Fukushima said.
The Gauchos are slotted to play back-to-back games against Louisville, UNLV, and Miami on March 11-13 on their home court. After a day of rest, they will suit up again when they host Syracuse on March 15.