The UCSB women’s tennis team split matches on their NorCal road trip this weekend, opening Big West play with a 5-2 win over UC Davis on Saturday and losing 5-2 to Pacific on Sunday.
“I thought we did really well [on Saturday],” freshman Sofia Novak said. “We dominated the match, and we were just stronger. [Sunday] we went out there and some of us didn’t play as well as others. Some of us were sick and everyone was tired on the second day. Overall, though, it was a good weekend. It showed us where we stand.”
After the weekend, Santa Barbara moved to 2-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. In the fourth singles slot, Novak won 6-3, 6-4 against Davis. Her and fellow freshman Natalia Lozano in the fifth spot were the only two Gauchos to win against Pacific the following day, improving their individual records to 3-0 on the season.
However, UCSB sophomore Jill Damion in the second spot and junior Bryanna Ojeda in the sixth slot both took their matches against Pacific to three sets before losing. Damion, who Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said was feeling ill prior to the match, lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“I thought that [Jill] had a good match,” Kirkwood said. “She had a really unbelievable first set.”
Ojeda lost 6-3, 6-7, 1-0, not finishing out the set because Pacific had already taken the four points needed to win the match. Junior Asagi Onaga lost 6-2, 6-0 in the third spot. In the first spot, junior Michelle Murphy lost to Tiger sophomore Jenifer Widjaja 6-0, 6-2.
“[The Tigers] were just a little too good,” Kirkwood said. “Pacific’s number one player is probably the best player in the conference. There’s not too much we could have done there at the one.”
The Tigers also swept the doubles point, beating the Gauchos 8-1, 8-3, 8-5 in the first, second and third doubles spots, respectively. However, UCSB dominated doubles against Davis, winning 8-2, 8-7, 8-3.
“We played really well in singles, but we were destroyed in doubles [against Pacific],” Kirkwood said. “And we felt like we were good in doubles, it could have been a point.”
Kirkwood believes Pacific could knock out many other teams in the Big West, even though the conference is led by five-time defending champ Long Beach State.
“There’s lots to be said and done before the conference tournament,” he said. “But I’ll be surprised if any team in the conference goes undefeated.”
The Gauchos begin a six-match homestand on Sunday afternoon at 12 p.m. They also play matches against conference rival Cal Poly on Monday at 11 a.m. and Hawaii on Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.
“The way we are right now, we’re pretty strong,” Novak said. “I think we’ll be okay. I think we’ll have a good shot at winning everything.”