Despite playing without two of their regular players, senior Marielle Gruenig and junior Kristen Wilson, the UCSB women’s tennis team defeated Cal State Fullerton 4-3 in their conference opener on the road last Saturday.
The Gauchos swept the Titans in doubles to take a 1-0 lead heading into the singles matches. Without #1 doubles partner Gruenig, senior Andrea Pintar had to double up with sophomore Charlotte Scatliffe, a move that proved to be successful for the Gauchos as the Pintar-Scatliffe tandem defeated Fullerton’s partnership of junior Gina Le and senior Ruya Inalpulat 9-7. In No. 2 doubles, seniors Chelsea Glynn and Amy Vyhnis, who was filling in for Wilson, defeated junior Mai-Ly Tran and freshman Shaghig-Shelly Injejikian 8-6.
“Chelsea Glynn is playing really well,” UCSB Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said. ” She has won three-straight matches with impressive scores. She stepped right in and picked up the slack created with [Gruenig’s] absence.”
In #2 singles, Fullerton’s Inalpulat defeated UCSB’s Pintar 6-3, 1-6, and 3-6. Pintar was moved from #3 singles to #2 for the past three matches. Scatliffe, who is usually the #4 singles player, defeated Fullerton’s Tran in #3 singles 6-4, 6-3.
“Charlotte is unbelievable at #3 singles. She is playing very well at the #3 spot without Gruenig,” Kirkwood said. “There is a fine line between three spot and four spot and it is a real tough transition. But Charlotte has handled it well. She really came up big for us in the last three matches.”
UCSB senior Leslie Damion defeated Cheyenne Inglis in #4 singles 6-1, 6-3 to give the Gauchos the advantage and the win in the match overall. In the last two singles matches, Fullerton’s Injejikian and Ashley Dunbar defeated senior Mio Fukushima and sophomore Brittany Kausen, respectively. Kausen was filling in for Wilson’s absence, moving from the #8 spot to #6.
“Singles are our strength,” Kirkwood said. “Last year we would lose the doubles points, but would come back and win the match with our singles. We did play good doubles, [though] we were short handed. We had players playing out of their positions. Take Brittany, she came from the #4 spot to fill in for Kristen Wilson.”
The Gauchos have their first home game of the season, after a season-high, five-match road trip that took the Gauchos everywhere from Las Vegas to Fresno, with a match against UC Riverside in the second Big West Conference game on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. The Gauchos come into this match riding a three game winning streak and a 3-2 overall record.
“We are definitely looking forward to playing Riverside.” Kirkwood said, ” It will be our first time playing with a full lineup. We would be sending out the team we hope to field at the Big West Tournament. If we win these Big West games, it could set us up for some great head-to-head matchups later on.”