The UCSB women’s tennis team prepares for a pair of weekend matches as it reaches the final stretch of the 2003 regular season.

Santa Barbara continues its road swing on Saturday at Long Beach State where the Gauchos will take on the 49ers in an important Big West contest. UCSB returns home on Sunday for a match against UC Riverside at Campus Courts at noon.

The Gauchos enter the weekend’s competition on a roll, winners of three of their last four matches, including two of three at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento last weekend. At the three-day event, hosted by Sacramento State, Santa Barbara scorched its opponent to start the competition. UCSB defeated the University of Nevada 5-2 on March 28 to get the party started. Senior #1 singles Uzma Khan cruised to victory over the Wolf Pack’s Vania Apodaca 6-0, 6-2 and then, paired with freshman Marielle Gruenig, recorded a 8-2 victory at the #1 doubles point.

On Saturday, UCSB blanked St. Mary’s 7-0 to extend its tournament record to 2-0. Freshman #3 singles Andrea Pintar defeated Catalina Fillol 6-1, 6-1 while also notching a victory at #2 doubles with teammate freshman Leslie Damion.

On the final day of competition, the Gauchos struggled to get their points from the lower seeds at both the singles and doubles positions and succumbed to Sacramento State 4-3. Khan and Gruenig held up the fort by garnering wins at both the #1 and #2 singles positions, respectively. The dynamic duo accounted for all three Gaucho points on the afternoon after finishing triumphantly at the #1 doubles point.

Santa Barbara expects a pair of trials this weekend as it works to tune any of the kinks that may linger before the all-important Big West Tournament starts in a couple of weeks. With Khan stepping up the intensity in her final campaign, UCSB Head Coach Pete Kirkwood will need to find consistency from the lower-seeded spots to make a run at the 2003 Big West Tournament Championship.