The UCSB women’s tennis team sliced and diced its way to a Big West victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday.
Santa Barbara was almost flawless in its 6-1 win against the Titans. The Gauchos took charge right from the beginning with three-straight doubles wins to obtain the doubles match point. A significant double win came from the team of senior Shannon Wilkins and junior Cindy Ammann, who won 8-5.
“[In our doubles match], we started off slowly at first,” Wilkins said. “We were down 2-5 before we came back to take the game.”
UCSB’s confidence level was high going into their matchup against Fullerton, as the Titans had found wins hard to come by all season long.
“We knew they were struggling this season,” senior Gaby Andrade said. “In this match we all went out to really work on our individual games in preparation for our later matches and [the Big West Tournament].”
Despite the initial slow start by the Wilkins/Ammann duo, the rest of the Gauchos came out on fire. Wilkins and junior Shiho Fukushima each notched 6-0, 6-0 victories, while no other Titan was able to mount a serious threat in three out of the four remaining singles matches. Sophomore Uzma Khan battled her way through three windy sets, but lost the third in a heartbreaking 7-6 decision.
“We knew we had to come out and get things done in this match,” Ammann said. “After losing the close match to Irvine this weekend, this match was very good for our team confidence,”
With Big West play coming to a close, this victory was essential for the Gauchos to secure a good seed in the conference tournament that will be played in Ojai on April 25-28.
“We needed to win this match so we could get a higher seed at the Big West tournament,” Wilkins said. “Now our team is concentrating on hopefully peaking at Ojai.”
Before UCSB goes off to Ojai it has several more items of business to take care of, including two final home matches, along with a rescheduled match at Loyola Marymount.
The Gauchos next take the court at home on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in a non-conference matchup against San Jose State, before traveling down to Los Angeles to play LMU on April 19. Santa Barbara then returns home to meet conference rival Cal Poly on Saturday April 21 in its last game before the Big West Tournament.
“Even though we are playing Cal Poly too late in conference play to even count for conference, it is still a huge game for us because of the rivalry,” Andrade said. “It’s the last game I will ever play here, and if it was the only match I won in my college career I would be happy.”