The UCSB women’s tennis team split its two matches this weekend, securing a victory over conference opponent Cal State Fullerton while dropping a close match against #67 Loyola Marymount University.
The match against Fullerton (0-7 overall, 0-2 in the Big West) was originally scheduled to occur Sunday, but was moved to Friday to avoid the threat of rain. The teams opted to play the singles matches first to try to determine the victor before rainfall. The doubles matches were never played and the Gauchos (2-2) won the match 4-2.
Junior Marta Simic returned to the lineup for the Gauchos and won her first set 7-6, but retired when she trailed 4-1 in the second set due to injury. Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said she is dealing with her injury on a day-to-day basis.
The other Santa Barbara loss was by junior Charlotte Scatliffe against graduate student Katrina Domela. The match was pushed to a third set by Scatliffe who, after dropping the first set 6-4, won the second in a tiebreak 7-6 (9) before losing the final set 6-2.
After freshmen Tova Hausman, Asagi Onaga and junior Brittany Kausen won their matches, freshman Carina Bjornstrom’s match was the deciding factor as to whether or not UCSB would walk away with a win or if the doubles point would be necessary. She won the first set 6-2 before dropping the second set in a tiebreak 6-7 (2) to senior Gina Le. The third set was pushed to a seventh point, but Bjornstrom emerged victorious 7-5.
Although UCSB played tenaciously against Loyola (3-0) the following day, the team lost a 4-3 decision. The Gauchos lost the doubles point, which turned out to be the deciding factor in the match when the two teams split their singles matches. The #3 doubles team senior Kristen Wilson and Kausen came back from a 0-3 start to win their match 9-8 (0). However, neither of the other two teams were able to pull out a win, conceding the doubles point to the Lions. Housman and Onaga lost 8-5 and Scatliffe, who played with Bjornstrom, lost 8-4.
“In the doubles point we had a slow start. It got out of our hands too fast,” Scatliffe said. “This was our third match in three days so we were a little drained, but we still should have won.”
Scatliffe won her singles match with ease, posting an impressive 6-0, 6-2 score over senior Tamara Tanner. She played aggressively and hustled to try to win each point.
“It was nice to see [Scatliffe] win like that; she’s had some tough matches,” Kirkwood said.
Onaga and Hausman also won their matches in two sets. Onaga was victorious 6-3, 6-3 and Hausman, who played a spectacular first set, won 7-6 (5), 6-3. Hausman trailed 3-0 to start the match, but evened the set at five. From there, each player won a game, forcing a tiebreaker from which Hausman emerged the victor.
“[Hausman] and [Onaga] are undefeated this year. They’re the reason we’ve been winning,” Kirkwood said of the two freshmen.
The three losses registered by the Gauchos also illustrated the team’s strong will and mental toughness. Wilson lost her first set 6-4 and was losing in the second 5-0. Then she won the next five games to even the set at 5-5. However, she lost the set and match, after her opponent won the ensuing two games to produce a 7-5 result.
Likewise, Kausen lost her first set 6-3 and was down in the second set 4-1. She went on to win five consecutive games and won the set 6-4. However, she lost the third set 6-1.
“The effort’s there; the fight is there. We can’t shut off. You would hope to have momentum [after the comebacks], but the opposite happened,” Kirkwood said. “To split singles with [Loyola Marymount] is good. We’re tough; we don’t give up. If you want to beat us, then you have to work. … [Through games like this] we become battle-tested, so when we get to April, we aren’t considered young and fragile anymore.”
The Gauchos next take on San Jose State University (0-1) this Saturday at the Rec Cen Courts at 11 a.m. and #55 UC Irvine (5-1) the following day.