The UCSB women’s tennis team travels to Loyola Marymount Saturday in hopes of capturing its first win of the season.
The Gauchos enter the matchup at 0-2 while LMU is still a perfect 1-0 on the year.
UCSB has been off to a slow start this season and hopes to bounce back from its loss to University of San Francisco this past Sunday when the team was swept 7-0 by the Bay Area team.
LMU, on the other hand, won its season opener against Concordia at home 7-0 and will be a challenge for the Gauchos.
Freshman Lauri Mueller is the first singles starter for LMU and is ranked No. 97 in the country by the NCAA. Meanwhile, the Gauchos have been shifting their starters each match, as they have been trying to arrange their most efficient lineup, so the Gaucho who will be facing Mueller is yet to be determined.
“We have to play on each court with toughness,” Head Coach Simon Thibodeau said. “LMU is similar to San Francisco. We have to just be more consistent, move better and we have to want it more than the other team on the court. I’m not panicking about the 0-2 start to the season; it’s a long season and the goal is for each match to help get us ready for the Big West.”
Santa Barbara should hope that history repeats itself this Sunday as the Gauchos have beaten LMU the last three out of four meetings. The Gauchos do have a number of new teammates this year such as freshmen Melissa Baker, Kaiulani Boyer and Jaimee Gilbertson, all who look to be great additions to the women’s team.
“We feel good about this Sunday’s match. I feel like these past few matches have really just been a means for us to adjust to the new atmosphere we now have as a team,” senior Kiersten Meehan said. “We have a lot of new members this year as well as people coming back from injury, which is something we never really have had to deal with before. I feel like we are getting used to these changes and becoming more of a unit and hopefully that will show against LMU.”
Meehan started at number one singles for the Gauchos in their last meeting against USF. Meehan was defeated by Thyra Taune 1-6, 0-6. Yet, the women’s team looks to be in a state of repair and a win against LMU this Sunday could bring new life to the Gauchos and rejuvenate the team after an early season slump.
“I think we all just need to be on the same page,” Meehan said. “We all need the same focus, same attitude and same will to win that day. It would make each of the seven matches an absolute battle for LMU to win if we are able to do this.”
Games will start at 11 a.m. at the LMU Tennis Center.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of January 30th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.