After a dazzling performance on Friday that sent Cal Poly packing its bags at the Big West Championships in Ojai, the UCSB women’s tennis team fell to #1 Long Beach State, 4-2, in the semifinals Saturday.
#4 Santa Barbara more than avenged its loss to the #5 Mustangs last week with a 4-1 victory in the opening round of the tournament. The Gauchos came out of the blocks in hot pursuit of a win as doubles partners senior Gaby Andrade and sophomore Uzma Khan teamed up with freshman AnneMarie Lenze and junior Shiho Fukushima to nail wins to obtain the doubles point.
“It was a difficult position for us to be in,” Lenze said. “We really felt pressure because we didn’t want to lose to them twice in a row. But we started strong from the beginning in doubles, and that took some pressure off.”
Once UCSB had the initial point under its belt, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way through. In the #2 singles position, Lenze barely broke a sweat on her way to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Mustang Angie Bagheri; Khan glided past Danielle Hustedt to notch the 6-4, 6-2.
Junior Cindy Ammann, who missed the first meeting between the two teams with the stomach flu, faced a difficult match at the one-spot against Cal Poly senior Danielle Brandlin. Still battling the flu virus, Ammann found herself down early in the match. Ammann then secured back-to-back sets to claim the victory that put an exclamation mark on Santa Barbara’s win over Cal Poly.
On Saturday, the Gauchos were hoping to pull off the second biggest upset of the tournament, after seventh-seeded Idaho beat second-seeded Irvine in first-round action. UCSB faced top-seeded Long Beach State, who had its way with Utah State in the first round with a victory.
Day two for the 49ers was no different as they claimed their 17th victory in a row, 4-2, to knock the Gauchos out of the single-game elimination Big West Championships.
“They have a lot of good players,” Ammann said. “As a team, they have very few weaknesses.”
Heading into singles competition, Santa Barbara gained some composure as Khan dashed past 49er Sophie Han in two straight sets for the win. Senior Shannon Wilkins also came away with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Alena Dvornikova in what would end up being her last career match as a Gaucho. But the rest of the Long Beach team was able to shut UCSB down, as 49er Anastasia Dvornikova overcame Ammann 6-4, 6-4. Lenze had no answer to 49er Mindy Carvalho, falling 6-2, 6-1; Gaucho Fukushima dropped straight sets to Cheryle Kindred 6-3, 6-4.
“We just went in and played hard,” Lenze said. “We tried, but they were just a little better than we were that day.”