The UCSB women’s tennis team will play one of its biggest matches of the year today versus the visiting Long Beach State 49ers.
The match against the 49ers will be the last of the Big West Conference season and UCSB will look to end on a high note. Santa Barbara now stands at 9-10 overall and 3-4 in Big West play after beating St. Mary’s Tuesday, bringing Santa Barbara’s three-match losing streak to an end.
Tuesday’s win over the Gaels served as a pick-me-up for the Gauchos after losing to three nationally ranked teams over the past month.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster. It always helps to have a win,” sophomore #1 singles player Marielle Gruenig said.
Santa Barbara will be looking for good performances from its doubles teams of Gruenig and senior Jen Kuhle as well as sophomore Andrea Pintar and sophomore Leslie Damion, all of whom won their matches versus St. Mary’s.
The contest will prove to be a good indicator of the team’s position as the season draws to a close with only four matches remaining.
“This is a really good test two weeks before Big West to see how legitimate we are,” UCSB Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said.
The Gauchos play four more matches before heading into post-season play.
“We have a perfect setup and are very confidant on winning out” Kirkwood said.
After the Gauchos take on Long Beach, they will play the final three matches of the season in as many days next weekend.
Long Beach’s own streak was broken Tuesday when University of the Pacific snapped the 49ers’ 11-match victory tally. The 49ers, 13-6 on the season and 5-1 in the Big West, are touting their doubles teams. Long Beach # 1 doubles team junior Nicole Bouffler and freshman Sandra Rocha are 13-6 so far this season and have won their last six matches. Meanwhile, the # 2 doubles team of senior Kelly Chan and sophomore Alanah Carroll stand 11-2 overall. Both teams beat their Pacific opponents. Bouffler, Chan and Rocha are the top singles players for Long Beach.
Long Beach State will be looking to put their best foot forward after witnessing the sudden end of their 11-match winning streak.
“They’re vulnerable and I think we have a good shot,” Pintar said about the 49er’s recent loss.
Santa Barbara is Long Beach State’s second road match this week after playing Cal Poly on Thursday. The 49ers have won their past five matches against the Gauchos. Today’s match is shaping up to be a battle to the very end.
First serve is at 1:30 p.m. today at the UCSB RecCen Courts.