SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— One day removed from a tough 4-3 loss to rivals, Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara (7-15, 4-4) arrived back at home to host its regular season finale against Big West opponent, Cal State Northridge (12-8, 3-4). Santa Barbara pulled off a collective team effort on its senior day as the Gauchos collected a dominant and important 5-2 win over the Matadors to further improve its seed for the Big West Tournament.
The doubles matches were filled with tight and competitive action as both teams were interlocked into long rallies. Junior, April Scatliffe and sophomore, Luisa Ortiz Candido once again seeded on court 1, but ultimately suffered a close 8-5 loss. Winning their fourth straight contest together, sophomore Priscila Garcia and freshman, Jaimee Gilbertson pulled off an impressive 8-7 victory on court No. 2 to give the Gauchos its lone doubles win. Playing as the threes, senior, Kiersten Meehan and freshman, Kaiulani Boyer also endured a tight 8-5 loss.
Despite dropping the doubles decision to Northridge, UCSB bounced back with impressive performances in the singles matches.
Gilbertson played as the one seed today and delivered with a masterful 6-2, 6-4 victory. Scatliffe showcased strong and clutch tennis today as the Redlands, Calif., native capitalized with a 6-2, 6-7, 10-8 win. Boyer showcased quality tennis in her match on court 3 as the freshman came out on top with a 6-1, 6-1 score. Playing her final home match as a Gaucho, senior, Paola Cos came up a little short with a tough 6-2, 7-5 loss. Playing with superb intensity in her final home match as well, Meehan recorded a convincing 6-2, 6-3 score. Rounding out the lineup, Garcia cruised her way to a 6-3, 6-1 victory on court No. 6.
Splitting its last two conference matches of the dual season, UCSB is excited to finally prep towards the goal of capturing the title of Big West champions.
"These two matches this weekend were great preparation for us and the Big West tournament," Head Coach Simon Thibodeau stated. "It is time to play clutch tennis and I believe we can do that." With a little less than two weeks until the start of the tournament, the Gauchos will look towards improving and refining its game and physical conditions in preparation for the competitive conference tournament.
"We will continue to work on our fitness in order to get used to the hot conditions and long points and close matches," Thibodeau said. "Everyone is so balanced in the Big West; we feel we are right in the pack and we will prepare very well during the upcoming week."
Aside from the focus on the upcoming tournament, Thibodeau shared praise for his pair of seniors as they played their final home matches of their Gaucho career.
"I thought Kiersten was really on a mission as she played more like last year after going through a tough year because of injuries. It is a great time that she played liked this; she will give it her all since it is her last year here," Thibodeau said. "Paola came up a little short today but with this week of preparation, she will be back into her solid form for the Big West tournament."
After a season filled with close losses and tough wins, Coach Thibodeau and his squad seem to have all the confidence in their ability towards winning it all.
"We will play like there is no tomorrow now that there is this postseason," Thibodeau concluded. With the quality depth, growing improvement and mental toughness of the squad, the Gauchos will be amongst the top competitors for the conference title.
CSUN 2, UCSB 5
Apr. 13, 2014
Santa Barbara, Calif.
Rec Center Courts
1. Mickey Hsu/ Kristen Poei (CSUN) def. April Scatliffe/ Luisa Ortiz Candido (UCSB), 8-5
2. Jaimee Gilbertson/ Priscila Garcia (UCSB) def. Vivian Lin/ Jessica Warren (CSUN), 8-7 (7-3)
3. Criss Rodriguez/ Lorraine Cheung (CSUN) def. Kiersten Meehan/ Kaiulani Boyer (UCSB), 8-5
1. Jaimee Gilbertson (UCSB) def. Vivian Lin (CSUN), 6-2, 6-4
2. April Scatliffe (UCSB) def. Mickey Hsu (CSUN), 6-2, 6-7, 10-8
3. Kaiulani Boyer (UCSB) def. Criss Rodriguez (CSUN), 6-1, 6-1
4. Kristen Poei (CSUN) def. Paola Cos (UCSB), 6-2, 7-5
5. Kiersten Meehan (UCSB) def. Lorraine Cheung (CSUN), 6-2, 6-3
6. Priscila Garcia (UCSB) def. Jessica Warren (CSUN), 6-3, 6-1
UCSB season record (7-15, 4-4)