After taking #49 Long Beach State down to the wire last Thursday, the UCSB women’s tennis team once again struggled with its consistency, losing 5-2 to unranked Loyola Marymount on Saturday while blanking UC Riverside 7-0 the following day. The Gauchos (8-12 overall, 3-3 Big West) extend their losing streak to five, only to break it against the rusty Highlanders (7-9, 0-5).
The Gauchos began the weekend against a red-hot Lion squad (9-11), which had won eight of its last 12. In stark contrast to their solid play against one of the best doubles squads in the country, seniors Marta Simic and Charlotte Scatliffe could not pull out the 9-8 Lion victory in the one spot, falling for the seventh time this year. Freshman Jill Damion and sophomore Asagi Onaga provided the one bright spot in Gaucho doubles play, handily defeating freshman Jasmin Heckel and sophomore Bliss Nixon 8-1 at the two spot. Sophomore Tova Hausman and senior Brittany Kausen came into the match with the Gauchos’ best doubles record, but fell 8-5 in the three spot to junior Tina Razloznik and freshman Caroline Nothnagel.
“Loyola’s a tough team,” head coach Pete Kirkwood said. “It was a match we thought we could win, but it didn’t happen. It was a non-conference match, which was good, but it also gives us a five-game losing streak, which isn’t so good. If we can get some conference wins going into the tournament, we’ll be in good shape confidence-wise.”
In singles, Simic took the #67 player in the nation to three sets, but could not finish the comeback in a 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 loss to senior Pavla Mesterova. Damion was quickly dismissed 6-1, 6-4, by senior Tamara Tanner in second-ranked singles, while Onaga could not pick up her second consecutive win in the three-spot as Razloznik all but blanked the sophomore 6-0, 6-1. Scatliffe continued her singles struggles in a 6-3, 6-3 four-spot loss to Heckel, while Hausman and Kausen posted the Gauchos’ only overall points, with wins in fifth- and sixth-ranked singles, respectively.
“[Scatliffe]’s struggling, no question about that,” Kirkwood said. “She’s been an inspirational leader for us all four years, been a little emotional, and I think this year, she’s just been playing with the weight of the world on her shoulders. I’m hoping for a Hollywood ending for her; struggling all year long then coming through in the end.”
The Hollywood ending Kirkwood spoke of might have begun against the Highlanders, as the Gauchos’ only blemish on the afternoon was a closely contested one-spot doubles loss, which didn’t stop Santa Barbara from taking the doubles point. Damion and Onaga quickly dispatched sophomores Donna McCullough and Roxanne Plata 8-2, while Hausman and Kausen took sealed the doubles point with an 8-3 win over freshmen Angelique Corpuz and Nadia Sakhakorn.
UCSB swept singles for only the second time this year, and got a big lift when Scatliffe broke her six-match winless streak in her first stint in the five spot with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Plata. Hausman moved to the four spot and did not disappoint, defeating Sakakorn 6-2, 6-3.
“[Hausman] deserved the move up to four,” Kirkwood said. “She’s been playing well. She’s really learned how to battle, and her elbow’s holding up. She’s battle tested, really learning how to hang in there for matches and closing people out.”