Gauchos Head to Malibu to Take on UCLA in the First Round of NCAA Tournament

Gauchos Head to Malibu to Take on UCLA in the First Round of NCAA Tournament

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Big West Tournament Champion UC Santa Barbara will play No.23 UCLA in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament on Friday May 12 at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif. 

"It's exciting to play so close to home against UCLA, a team we know so well because they're in our region," said the head coach Simon Thibodeau. "It's nice to play them at a neutral site and we're not traveling far so we'll have a lot of energy." 

UCSB, which defeated Hawaii 4-1 in the Big West championship match on Sunday, will be advancing to the NCAA tournament second time in a row and the fourth in the program's history. 

The Gauchos defeated Kansas in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament before falling to Cal in the second round. 

"We have to be really tough because they're a good team," Thibodeau said. "We'll see what happens."

UCSB enters the postseason with a 17-9 record and 10 consecutive wins while UCLA is 13-8 overall after falling to Oregon in PAC-12 Championships.

"It was very expected that we're going somewhere in Southern California," said Palina Dubavets. "We're going to play UCLA the first round and we met earlier in the season. They're a rough team but we had some chances here and there so we're looking forward to it."

The winner of the match between UCSB and UCLA will play the winner of the Long Island University-Brooklyn and Pepperdine match on Saturday May 13.