After marking its home debut with a convincing victory over Santa Clara University, the UCSB women’s tennis team will try to continue its winning ways against Saint Mary’s College this afternoon.
In their season opener, the Gauchos handily beat the Broncos by a score of 6-1. The match featured some tough games through which the Gauchos struggled, but Santa Barbara still finished with a fairly dominant victory.
UCSB has beaten Saint Mary’s College easily in the two teams’ last five meetings by a combined score of 22-4. However, the Gauchos have a significantly different team with four new starters and their lack experience.
“No matter what, every play will be a challenge against [this Saint Mary’s team],” junior Charlotte Scatliffe said. “I can see all the games being very close.”
Head Coach Pete Kirkwood is well aware of his team’s inexperience.
“We are a young team and have a way to go, but we have a lot of talent on our team,” Kirkwood said. “It’s going to be a tough match. Saint Mary’s is a good team and has already beaten Pacific, another good team.”
In Saint Mary’s season opener, the Gaels won 6-1 over the University of Pacific. St. Mary’s proved their doubles play is quite strong this season, beating the Tigers 8-4, 8-3, and 8-3. They boast two All-West Coast Conference doubles teams – senior Aude Lambert and junior Jessica Hoath, along with sophomores Marah Calvo and Erin Young.
In order for the Gauchos to get a win over the Gaels, the team feels they need to stay physical. “We just need to play hard, and let the chips fall where they may,” Kirkwood said. “Whoever plays the big points with more focus will win the match.”
To prepare for the match, Kirkwood said the team has been improving their second serves and is trying to be smarter with their passing shots.
Scatliffe, on the other hand, feels that the team needs to stay physically fit.
“After the big win this weekend, we’ve had a lot of rest. We’ve only practiced a few days this week,” Scatliffe said. “We just need to stay healthy and work hard.”
UCSB takes on Saint Mary’s College today at 1:30 p.m. at home.