SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—After a tough opening to the dual match season, the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team (1-6, 0-0) will look for a fresh start as the team will begin Big West Conference play this weekend. Santa Barbara will first face off against No. 42 UC Irvine (3-4, 1-0) on Saturday, Feb. 22nd at 11:00 a.m. and then will match up against Cal State Fullerton (1-6, 0-3) the very next day at 11:00 a.m.
Nothing has come easy for the Gauchos as the team has battled through injuries and tough opponents thus far in the dual match season. Last weekend was another hard week for the team as it hosted University of Pacific. The Gauchos fell to the Tigers, 6-1, but the end result could have easily been reversed. UCSB dropped the doubles point to Pacific, but the team was still in the hunt as all the matches were close and competitive. Four out of the six singles matches went into the third set tiebreak; displaying the hard fought and action packed matches. Pacific came up big on the crucial points as the Tigers won all but one of the singles matches on the day. Freshman, Kaiulani Boyer showcased her toughness as she almost sealed a win on court No. 1. Junior, Stacy Yam provided the Gauchos with the team's lone win from the singles matches as she recorded a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Even with the tough start, the Gauchos are in a good position heading into Big West play. The team received a good sign last weekend with the return of senior Kiersten Meehan. A team leader and veteran, Meehan provided UCSB with an immediate spark; providing the team with a doubles win and nearly winning her three set match during the singles matches. With the team finally healthy again, the Gauchos are contenders for the coveted Big West Championship.