The UCSB women’s tennis team will compete in the Cal State Northridge Matador Collegiate Invitational this weekend from Nov. 12 to Nov. 14.

The five girls that did not play in the ITA Southwest Regional will make the trip. The tournament consists of four flights — A, B, C, D — which are differentiated by skill level. Flight A is the most difficult bracket.

Senior Michelle Murphy and sophomore Erica Cano will both compete in Flight B singles, in addition to playing together in the Flight B doubles tournament. The pairing of freshman Casey Reede and junior Alexandra McIntosh will compete in the Flight C doubles tournament. They will also play in Flight C singles, and freshman Samantha Chou will play in Flight D singles.

“These girls haven’t played in the starting lineup regularly. We hope to get them into tough situations with pressure,” Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said. “There should be some real good competition at this tournament. We’re really looking forward to getting our players some experience.”

With the regular season approaching, this weekend’s tournament in Northridge, Calif. will help the Gauchos tune their game and gain confidence.

“I’m looking forward to doubles,” Cano said. “I can’t wait to get out and compete. Outside competition is a good way to better my game.”

After taking last year off for personal reasons, Murphy is working to get back to form. The senior was the number one player for the women’s team in 2008.

“I want to get back to my sophomore self,” Murphy said. “We have a chance to go far this year. This is the strongest team since I’ve been here. We have a very deep team, which will help a lot this season.”

Last year, UCSB’s Sofia Novak won the Flight A singles tournament in the 2009 tournament by defeating the #29 ranked player in the country from Arizona. With Novak out of the country studying abroad in Spain, these Gauchos have a chance to fight for a starting spot.

“This is an opportunity for the girls to prove themselves and earn their shot at starting on our team,” Kirkwood said. “The whole point of the fall season is to determine your lineup. We need to see which six rise to the top.”

Results of fall tournaments affect IA national rankings, but they do not count towards team competition records. The 2010 Cal State Northridge Matador Collegiate Invitational begins Friday, Nov. 12.