The UCSB women’s tennis team will take on Cal State Northridge today in a pivotal conference matchup.
Northridge (7-5 overall, 3-1 in the Big West) is only a half game behind Santa Barbara (8-6 overall, 4-1 Big West), which is tied for second in the Big West conference.
If Santa Barbara can pull out a victory in the match, the third seed would be the lowest they could achieve for the Big West Tournament. A third seed guarantees that the Gauchos will play a team lower than them in their conference. With a loss, the Gauchos will be seeded fourth.
“This is a huge match for us,” Kirkwood said. “We can do no worse than a fourth seed, so either way we will play a lower seed. If we win, though, we will still be alive for the second seed, and get the third [seed] for sure.”
A loss would likely mean the Gauchos would play Cal Poly in the tournament, which they narrowly beat 4-3 earlier in the year. With a win, the Gauchos’ first round match in the Big West Tournament would potentially be less difficult.
“I’m really excited [for the match],” junior team captain Charlotte Scatliffe said. “We’re already a fourth seed, at the lowest, so there’s nothing to lose, there’s no pressure.”
Scatliffe said the team has been continuing to work on its doubles play. The team has experienced some changes in the double pairings due to injury, but according to Scatliffe the team is now healthy.
“We’ve had the play through the pain, but we’re all better [now],” she said.
In their last two games, the Matadors have beaten two conference opponents in Pacific and Cal Poly. Northridge won a close match against Pacific 4-3, and defeated Cal Poly with a little more ease at 5-2.
After the Gauchos take on Northridge, they play Hawaii in their final home game of the season. Hawaii (4-12) is a nonconference opponent and may relieve the pressure that comes with late season conference matches.