The UCSB women’s tennis team was outmatched by #38 Long Beach State at home Saturday and fell by a score of 2-5. The loss drops Santa Barbara’s record to 9-10 on the season and 4-2 in conference play. The Gauchos will no longer be contenders for first place in the Big West, but remain one of the top four teams in conference.
“After playing [Long Beach] we’re not intimidated at all,” Heach Coach Pete Kirkwood said. “They dominate the Big West and it takes very good tennis to beat them.”
UCSB has played with a new and very successful doubles lineup for the past two matches, and nothing changed on Saturday as the revamped tandems gave the 49ers a run for their money. Unfortunately, it was not enough as Long Beach won two of the three very tight matches to secure the doubles point.
At #1, doubles junior Tova Hausman and senior Bryanna Ojeda fell to Jaklin Alawi and Rachel Manasse in an incredibly close tiebreak 9-8 (5). In the #3 doubles match, junior Jill Damion and freshman Annabel Gledden took home Santa Barbara’s only win, beating Julie Luzar and Sarah Cantlay in the day’s second tiebreak 9-8 (2).
It’s going to make a big difference if we can get the [doubles] point,” Kirkwood said. “I’m really pleased with how Tova and Bryanna are playing. They’re a legitimate number one and are playing unbelievable doubles.”
Already down 1-0, UCSB needed outstanding play from all of its singles players to pull off the upset. Although the team competed well, Long Beach proved too much to handle in the end, winning four of the six matches.
The bright spots for the Gauchos’ singles lineup came at the #4 and #5 positions. Continuing her great play at the #4 spot, Hausman won her ninth straight match by beating Manasse 6-3, 6-3. Gledden also got a win at #5 singles when she beat Luzar in three sets 6-2, 3-6, 10-4.
“That for sure was her best match of the year,” Kirkwood said of Hausman’s match. “I thought she was the best player out there yesterday.”
Santa Barbara will hit the road for their next match, a conference matchup at Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, April 10.