The UCSB women’s tennis team lost a heartbreaking match to top-seeded Cal Poly 4-3 in a semifinal match at the 2003 Big West Women’s Tennis Championships in Danville, Calif., on Saturday. Santa Barbara managed to defeat Cal State Northridge 4-3 on Friday in Pleasanton, Calif.

Despite the setback, the future still looks good for the promising young squad.

Santa Barbara’s number two through six singles players – all freshmen -will be stronger and more experienced by 2004. Unfortunately, UCSB will lose its number one player, senior Uzma Khan, to graduation. Khan finished the season with a 24-0 record at the #1 singles slot and 34-2 overall. Khan may be selected to the national singles tournament, where the top 64 singles players square off. The seedings will be announced later this week.

The Big West Tournament suffered through some unpleasant weather conditions in the first round. The match between the fourth seeded Gauchos and fifth seeded Matadors was rescheduled from Danville and moved to an indoor facility in Pleasanton.

The Gauchos defeated the Matadors 4-3. Khan defeated senior Tereza Simonyan 6-4, 6-3. UCSB’s Marielle Gruenig beat freshman Inga Chilingaryan 6-4, 6-1, and Santa Barbara’s Leslie Damion defeated junior Brittany Bierman 6-2, 6-2. Junior Gaucho Jen Kuhle defeated freshman YuYu Myinttun 6-2, 6-3. Senior Matador Rani Setiawati upset Andrea Pintar 6-4, 6-4. CSUN freshman Olga Yepremian beat Amy Vyhnis 6-2, 6-3. Doubles matches were not played.

Santa Barbara gave Cal Poly a tough match on Saturday, but the Mustangs managed to squeak out the victory. UCSB split the singles matches 3-3 but lost the doubles point, which turned out to be the tiebreaker.

In singles, Khan defeated senior Danielle Hustedt 6-0, 6-1; Gruenig lost to freshman Samantha Waller 7-6 (2), 6-3; Pintar defeated sophomore Chelsey Thompson 6-4, 6-3; Damion beat freshman Kristen Grady 6-4, 6-4; Kuhle lost to freshman Shelia Lewis 6-4, 6-4; and Vyhnis dropped her match to junior Kate Romm, 6-1, 6-2.

The Gauchos entered the Big West tournament ranked #68 in the nation and finished the season 16-8.

Cal Poly defeated defending Big West champion Long Beach State 4-1 in the championship match on Sunday. The victory was the Mustangs first ever Big West team title. Cal Poly will receive an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The first and second rounds will take place May 9-11.

Both UCSB and Long Beach State hope for an at-large bid when the NCAA participants are announced April 30. An NCAA selection committee determines the top 64 teams in the nation.