The UCSB women’s tennis team may be the hottest team on campus.
After beginning the season with eight straight losses on their way to a 1-10 start, the Gauchos have retaliated with a five-game winning streak. Santa Barbara got on the right track by besting Syracuse and Pacific, both 4-3, before easily topping Sacramento State, Davis and St. Mary’s. UCSB has now won seven of its last nine matches.
The winning streak began at home for the Gauchos as they faced off against Syracuse. Santa Barbara fell behind early, with SU capturing the initial doubles point. But junior Cindy Ammann, sophomore Uzma Khan and senior Shannon Wilkins all fought their way to victory in singles.
The competition came down to the last singles match with the scored tied at three apiece. In the deciding match, all eyes were on UCSB’s #2 singles player, freshman Anne Marie Lenze. The match came down to the third set, where things began looking grim for Santa Barbara when Lenze fell behind, 4-0. But with the game on the line, Lenze rallied from behind to notch a 7-5 third-set victory to secure the win.
The victory over SU proved to be the turning point for the Gauchos, as UCSB then hit the road to try its hand against some northern California teams.
Santa Barbara’s first stop was a heated battle in Stockton, where the Gauchos met Pacific, which boasts last year’s Big West Player of the Year, Susanne Bartel. Nevertheless, Santa Barbara pulled out the narrow victory behind the singles wins of Lenze, Khan and junior Shiho Fukushima. Additionally, UCSB was able to secure the doubles point, behind the strong performance of the top two duos of Amman and Wilkins, and Khan and senior Gaby Andrade.
UCSB continued its northern mission by coming away with a 6-1 win at Sacramento State, before heading to Davis, where they blanked the Aggies, 7-0. Santa Barbara dominated in the sweep of UCD, with none of the matches extending to a third deciding set.
. Against St. Mary’s, the Gauchos jumped out to an early lead by winning the doubles point to start the match. This was something that UCSB had been struggling with at the beginning of the season, and Santa Barbara was able to ride this early momentum to an easy 6-1 victory.
The UCSB women’s tennis team will be in action again April 7, when they play host to Loyola Marymount at noon.