INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - No. 2 seed Long Beach State defeated No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara, 4-1, in the semifinals of the Big West Women's Tennis Championship Saturday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The victory sent the 49ers to their 13th straight finals appearance.
LBSU will meet rival UC Irvine in the championship match Sunday at 9:00 a.m. It is the sixth year in a row that the two combatants will play each other for the right to automatically advance to the NCAA Tournament. The two teams have met in eight previous championship matches all-time, with LBSU owning a 7-1 record in those meetings.
The 49ers, which won their 12th straight match en route to improving to 20-3 on the season, dominated the doubles play to take a 1-0 lead. Ebba Unden and Karolina Rozenberg clinched the point at No. 1 with their 8-2 win against April Scatliffe and Kiersten Meehan. The 49ers also won at No. 2.
Singles play featured a number of competitive matches. Unden extended LBSU's lead to 2-0 when she toppled Scatliffe at No. 1 by a 6-2, 6-1 score.
The Gauchos cut their deficit in half as Erica Cano took care of Anne-Sophie Willems 6-4, 6-3 at No. 6. The 49ers responded at the No. 3 spot with Anna Jeczmionka delivering a 6-3, 6-2 win against Priscila Garcia.
With tight matches taking place on the No. 2 and No. 5 courts, the 49ers ended the match with a three-set win at No. 3. Sarah Cantlay rebounded from a first-set loss to defeat Paola Cos 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The Gauchos concluded their season at 15-8 under first-year head coach Simon Thibodeau.
"We battled hard today," said Thibodeau. "They are a tough team, but I believe that our future looks bright."
BIG WEST TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN
(2) LONG BEACH STATE 4, (3) UC SANTA BARBARA 1
1. Unden/Rozenberg (LBSU) def. Scatliffe/Meehan (UCSB) - 8-2
2. Malenovska/Cantlay (LBSU) def. Cano/Garcia (UCSB) - 8-0
3. Jeczmionka/Willems (LBSU) vs. Yam/Cos (UCSB) - DNF
Order of finish: 2, 1
1. Ebba Unden (LBSU) def. April Scatliffe (UCSB) - 6-2, 6-1
2. Klaudia Malenovska (LBSU) vs. Kiersten Meehan (UCSB) - DNF
3. Sarah Cantlay (LBSU) def. Paola Cos (UCSB) - 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
4. Anna Jeczmionka (LBSU) def. Priscila Garcia (UCSB) - 6-3, 6-2
5. Karolina Rozenberg (LBSU) vs. Stacy Yam (UCSB) - DNF
6. Erica Cano (UCSB) def. Anne-Sophie Willems (LBSU) - 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 6, 4, 3