Gauchos Open 2012 Ranked 63rd Nationally, Open Season in Arizona

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2012 UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team has picked-up where the 2011 team left off.

The Gauchos enter the 2012 dual match season ranked 63rd nationally, one spot lower than they finished last year and head coach Pete Kirkwood believes his team is even better.

"This is a ranking to be proud of," Kirkwood said, "but we believe we are better than last year and hope to prove it."

UCSB will open the dual season with matches at the University of Arizona (Jan. 21) and Arizona State (Jan. 22).  Following the trip to the Grand Canyon State, the Gauchos will travel to Miami to take part in the National Indoor Championships on Jan. 28 and 29.  They will play South Florida in their first match in the tourney.

"We play 11 nationally-ranked teams this year and potentially 12," Kirkwood said.  "If we can win a round at the indoor tournametn we will play No. 11 Miami.  It should all be very challenging."

Santa Barbara's schedule includes USC (No. 16), Arizona State (No. 19), Arizona (No. 32), Long Beach State (No. 38), South Florida (No. 41), St. Mary's (No. 42), Cal Poly (No. 46), UC Irvine (No. 55), Georgia State (No. 57) and UC Davis (No. 59).

Kirkwood also said that his Gaucho team had another standout quarter academically.  As a group, UCSB recorded a 3.4019 grade point average in the fall quarter, up from the 3.400 it recorded last spring.  Paola Cos led the way with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The Gauchos, who have only eight home matches in 2012, will play their first home contest on Saturday, Feb. 11 when they host UC Davis in a Big West match that will begin at 11:00 a.m. on the Robertson Gym Tennis Courts.

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