The UCSB women’s tennis team took the court against Cal Poly on Saturday in a matchup they had been waiting for all season.
The result, however, was not what Santa Barbara had hoped for as the Gauchos were upset in their home finale by the Mustangs in a 5-2 decision.
Junior Cindy Ammann, who has been solid in the #1 singles and doubles positions all season long, showed up to the match with the stomach flu and was unable to play. Without her assistance on the court, each singles player was moved up a spot while the #1 and #3 doubles teams were altered because of the last minute news. Senior Shannon Wilkins joined forces with sophomore netter Uzma Khan in the one spot, while junior Shiho Fukushima teamed up with freshman Vanessa Everly in the three position.
“Shannon and Uzma were not used to playing together and I had never played with Vanessa,” Fukushima said. “Even with this situation, we were still able to keep the matches close.”
Senior Gaby Andrade and freshman AnneMarie Lenze edged out their Mustang opponents in an 8-4 victory in doubles competition, but that wasn’t enough to secure the doubles point while the other duos fell short.
Down from the beginning with the doubles losses, Santa Barbara headed into singles play looking to make up for its early flop. Khan took care of business right away in the #2 spot for the Gauchos gliding to a 6-0, 6-3 victory. Andrade went out in style in her last game at Rob Courts by notching a two set 6-3, 6-3 win. But Andrade’s victory was all that UCSB could muster in the win column, while the rest of the squad dropped its remaining four singles matches.
Thrust in the #1 singles spot was Lenze, who started off slowly losing the first set 6-1. She then fought back to play a dominating second set to even the score at one game apiece. The freshman was only able to bag one game in the deciding set before she faltered to senior Mustang Danielle Brandlin.
The #3 singles match was played in similar fashion, and unfortunately had the same ending as Wilkins came up empty after a long, three-set effort. Wilkins fought tooth and nail in the third set, but Cal Poly’s Danielle Hustedt was able to outlast her attack to win the match 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
“Overall, we played a pretty good match,” Fukushima said. “Two of the singles matches went the full three sets. There were some bad calls made at the end, but it was still a hard fought battle.”
The Gauchos will look to avenge this loss in the first round of the Big West Tournament. Santa Barbara, seeded #4 in the nine-team bracket, has a first round bye before it faces #5 Cal Poly in tournament’s opening round on Friday in Ojai.