After 2 weeks of furiously practicing against each other since their last match, the UCSB women’s tennis team opened up their Big West schedule this weekend. But their much anticipated road trip to Big West foes UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton didn’t exactly start the way they had planned.
The #75 nationally ranked Gauchos were upset on Saturday afternoon in Riverside 4-3. It was their first match since a loss against Pepperdine on January 23. Riverside swept the doubles points by winning all three of the matches. Sophomores Andrea Pintar and Amy Vyhnis and freshman Kristen Wilson captured the only singles victories for the Gauchos. Vyhnis, a sophomore, admitted that the rust of inactivity for two weeks possibly affected their play.
“Because we didn’t have a match for 2 weeks we didn’t seem completely ready to be put into Big West play,” Vyhnis said.
It was the first time that Riverside had beaten UCSB in school history.
Looking to avoid an 0-2 start to their Big West season, UCSB rebounded the next morning at Fullerton by convincingly beating the Titans 5-2. Top-seeded Gaucho player sophomore Marielle Gruenig defeated the Titans’ respective #1 Ruya Inapulat in consecutive sets (6-3, 6-2). All four of the Gauchos’ top seeded players – Vyhnis, Pintar, sophomore Leslie Damion and senior Jen Kuhle emerged victorious against their Titan opponents.
The Gauchos also took two out of the three doubles matches. Gruenig and Damion defeated Ioana Sisoe and Mai-Ly Tran (8-3) and Pintar and Kuhle defeated Inapulat and Carla Rocha (9-8). The victory was UCSB’s first of the season, bringing their conference record up to 1-1 and their overall record to 1-2.
“It was really important that we came back to beat Fullerton on Sunday. It’s critical that we redeemed ourselves,” Vyhnis said.
The Gauchos look to continue their momentum as they head up north to longtime rival Cal Poly on Thursday afternoon. UCSB has their home opener this Saturday at noon against Cal State Northridge at the Rob Gym tennis courts. To promote the girls’ conference home opener and their quest to conquer the Big West, the Gaucho Caf