The UCSB women’s tennis team (1-3 Big West conference, 5-3 overall) ended their losing streak at two matches Wednesday, beating Fresno Pacific 4-3 at the Robertson Gymnasium courts in the fifth match of their homestand.
“It was too bad we couldn’t crush them,” junior team captain Bryanna Ojeda said. “It was a good pullout because we struggle when we lose [the doubles point].”
Ojeda is a member of the third doubles team pairing up with sophomore Jill Damion today to win the Gauchos’ first doubles game in their last four matches. However, Fresno State took the first and second doubles matches to take an early 1-0 lead. In singles, Ojeda won 6-0, 6-1 and was the first of the court at the sixth singles spot, improving her singles record to 4-2 and nullifying Fresno Pacific’s momentum by tying the match score 1-1.
The Gauchos’ only losses came at the first spot to junior Michelle Murphy (6-3, 7-6) and at the fourth spot to freshman Natalia Lozano, who lost 5-7, 6-3, 1-0 (11-9). For Lozano, the loss marks her third consecutive – she has won the first set, lost the second and lost in a third-set tiebreaker in each of her losses. She is now 5-3 on the season.
“Division I players are pretty competitive. Let your guard down for a second and – boom – you know, you’re barely hanging in,” Gaucho Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said. “[But] it’s a learning process [for Natalia]. Going through battles like these are only going to help her.”
Damion and junior Asagi Onaga, who have struggled in singles matches recently, both pulled out wins today in the second and fifth spot, respectively. Onaga won 7-6, 6-4, while Damion won 7-6, 6-1. Freshman Sofia Novak rounds out the singles lineup, improving to 7-1 in the third slot after beating Fresno Pacific’s Ornella Gentile 6-2, 7-5. She holds the best singles record on the team.
“[Sofia’s] had a couple of matches now where she’s just blown her opponents off the court,” Kirkwood said. “She’s starting the second third of her freshman season, and she knows how to tough out matches already. It’s a credit to her.”
The Gauchos play two more matches this weekend, finishing off their six-match homestand against San Jose State on Saturday at 11 a.m. and then traveling to the San Fernando Valley to play Cal State Northridge on Sunday at 12 p.m.
“It would help so much more if we get another win [against San Jose],” Ojeda said. “We’re looking forward to the first match. The game plan is to go out there and be confident. We should be able to beat them pretty easily.”
According to Kirkwood, his team will prioritize doubles play in practice the rest of the week.
“We’re back to the drawing board in doubles,” Kirkwood said. “Starting tomorrow we’re gonna be looking at everything and anybody. Rest assured, we’ll figure something out, just with basic fundamentals.”