The UCSB women’s tennis team lost two nail-biters this weekend, dropping 4-3 decisions to both Brown and Loyola Marymount on Friday and Saturday. The Gauchos won the doubles point and took leads in both matches, but were unable to close out the victories in singles play.
Junior Marielle Gruenig continued her outstanding season at the #1 singles spot, defeating Brown’s Amanda Saiontz 6-2, 6-4 and Loyola Marymount’s Carla Arguelles 6-3, 6-2. Gruenig (13-1) is currently ranked 87th in the nation and has won her last 11 matches.
“It was very close,” Gruenig said. “The difference between the teams was so small and both games could have gone either way.”
The Gauchos started out strong against Brown, going up 2-0 on the doubles point and the win by Gruenig. However, the Gauchos lost four of the next five matches, with junior #2 singles Andrea Pintar giving the Gauchos their final point. Juniors #4 Leslie Damion and #6 Mio Fukushima won sets in their matches, but both were unable to close out their opponents.
Saturday’s matches were similar as the Gauchos won the doubles point after a 9-8 victory by Gruenig and junior #3 Chelsea Glynn. Gruenig gave the Gauchos a 2-1 lead with her singles win, and Glynn later defeated Loyola’s Kimi Kaloi to put UCSB up 3-2. However, the Lions won the last two singles matches en route to their 4-3 win. Four of the six singles matches went to three sets.
“I think one of the themes of the weekend was we were just kind of unlucky,” Gruenig said. “We were definitely in a position to win both of those matches.”
One of the encouraging points of the weekend was the Gauchos’ strong doubles play, which has suffered as of late. Over the last few weeks, UCSB’s tendency has been to drop the doubles point and then battle back to win the match in singles play. This weekend’s theme was just the opposite.
“That’s definitely a really good tendency, that we’re winning in doubles play,” Gruenig said. “If we can just combine our singles play from earlier in the season with the way we’re playing doubles now, we should do very well.”
The Gauchos will hit the road to take on Northridge on Tuesday. Recent losses have dropped the Gauchos out of the top 75 after they had climbed as high as #71 in the nation, and a win over Northridge will be a big step towards a return to national rankings.
“We just have to get a good practice in before that match and we’ll be fine,” Gruenig said. The Northridge game begins Tuesday at 2 p.m.