Spring Break was unkind to the UCSB women’s tennis team, as the Gauchos posted a disappointing 3-5 record over the quarterly intermission. Even though UCSB (7-9) played the majority of its games at home during the three-week layoff, the struggling Gauchos could only muster two wins in five games on their home courts. Santa Barbara faced three top-50 opponents over the break, but lost to #36 Washington State, #37 Mount St. Mary’s and #46 Boise State by a combined score of 16-5. The Gauchos are still searching for their first victory over a ranked opponent this season, having gone 0-7 in all previous attempts.
“Overall, [Spring Break] was very disappointing,” senior Charlotte Scatliffe said. “It seems like every time there’s a challenging match, we come up short, especially against ranked opponents.”
UCSB began the break on a high note at home by beating an underrated Pacific squad (4-9) 4-3. While most students began preparing for upcoming finals, senior Marta Simic conducted a clinic on the court by dispatching her top-seeded singles opponent, junior Jolanta Twarowska, 6-3, 6-4. Beforehand, Simic and Scatliffe easily put away Twarowska and freshmen Olga Gumenyuk 8-3 in top-ranked doubles. Simic and Scatliffe have gone 9-7 in top-ranked doubles this year, a record that ties them for first on the team.
Even after ending a three-match losing streak in the win over Pacific, UCSB continued its inconsistent play with a 5-2 loss against Washington State (11-8) two days later. The Cougars took the doubles point and the top-four singles games to cement their overall victory, but sophomore Tova Hausman and senior Brittany Kausen earned hard-fought victories in the fifth and sixth spots, respectively. Hausman, who currently holds the team’s best singles record at 9-6, easily dispatched junior Aleksandra Cekic 6-3, 6-1, while Kausen outlasted freshman Jessica Gomez in a 6-2, 4-6 (1-0) win.
“[Hausman] has definitely turned it around from last year,” Scatliffe said. “At the five spot, I think she can win every time she comes to play. She plays with incredible confidence and is a key for our team down in the lower-seeded matches.”
The Gauchos vented their frustration on their next opponent, Gonzaga (6-11), in a dominating 6-1 victory at home. The Bulldogs mustered their only point in a hotly contested third-seeded singles match, which featured freshmen Rika Mehndiratta holding off Scatliffe for a 7-6, 7-6 win. The Gaucho team captain struggled over the break, posting a dismal 1-6 singles record, which sinks her overall singles record to 4-12, a team low.
“Very disappointing,” Scatliffe said. “I’ve been telling everyone that in the four years I’ve been here, I haven’t lost this much, but we’ve played a very tough schedule this year. We still have a lot of matches to go, and I have a lot of confidence going into Long Beach.”
Santa Barbara finished its five-game homestead with a 5-2 loss to Cal State Northridge. Simic and freshmen Jill Damion posted the Gauchos’ only points in top-ranked and second-seeded singles, with Damion taking senior Kanykey Koichumanova in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. After taking care of final exams, UCSB blanked Westmont 7-0 in Montecito.
UCSB then went on to lose its last three matches of the break to Boise State, San Francisco and St. Mary’s. The nationally ranked Broncos held off a valiant Gaucho comeback in their 5-2 win, while San Francisco got an assist from the elements as rain halted a 4-3 USF victory. St. Mary’s was everything its ranking claimed it to be, as it shut the door on any notions of an upset in a convincing 6-1 victory. Hausman provided the Gauchos’ only point in a grueling 7-6, 5-7 (1-0) win over senior Stef Ordoveza.