The #73 UCSB women’s tennis team will head north this weekend for its first road trip against the University of San Francisco.

Coming off an in-conference loss, the Gauchos (3-3 overall, 1-1 in the Big West) will look to climb above .500 with a win against the Dons (2-3). While not a conference opponent, a victory in San Francisco could boost Santa Barbara’s confidence going into another road game against conference rival UC Riverside (5-3 overall, 0-1 Big West) on March 10.

In preparation for this weekend’s match, Santa Barbara has been working on improving its match starts. As of late, the Gauchos have been plagued by poor doubles play and three-set losses. UCSB will look to amend those facets of its players’ game this weekend.

Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said that his team continually strives to improve its mixture of shots, execution, passing shots, overheads and volleys. Throughout the season, the Gauchos have already improved upon many of these aspects of play. In more recent matches, they have exhibited a combination of different types of shots.

Team captain junior Charlotte Scatliffe said that she feels confident about the team’s first away game.

“We should do well and I think we have a good chance of winning,” Scatliffe said. “We should be well rested.”

The Gauchos can afford to go at full speed this weekend with a fresh set of players, as they had no mid-week matches this week.

On the other side of the net, the University of San Francisco is coming off a nonconference win against Gonzaga.

“Our depth made the difference tonight,” University of San Francisco Head Coach Hilary Somers said of the team’s 6-1 win over Gonzaga (2-4).

The Dons’ other victory came at the expense of Big West competitor Cal State Fullerton, 0-9 at the end of January. Their losses all came against very good teams who round out the top of the Big West Conference in #42 UC Irvine (7-2, 2-0 Big West), #26 Long Beach State (5-1) and Pacific (3-2).

In the last meeting between the two teams, Santa Barbara dropped the match 2-4. The match was shortened due to rain, and the doubles point was never played. In 2005, the Gauchos handily defeated the Dons 6-1.

In terms of weather, the San Francisco area has been experiencing rain for the past several days. But the Gauchos are looking for a rain-free chance to avenge their last match against USF.

The Gauchos prepare to take on the Dons Friday at 10 a.m. Then, Santa Barbara has two weeks off before it faces another divisional opponent in UC Riverside.