Gauchos Eliminated from ITA Regional Championships

Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SAN DIEGO, Calif.-  The UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team was knocked out of contention in Day 2 of the ITA Regional Championships on Friday evening. 

Following a commanding start in Day 1 of the tournament, Santa Barbara struggled in the latter rounds as the Gauchos were eliminated from both the singles and doubles brackets after gritty matches throughout the day. 

The sole highlight of the day came from freshman Tiffany Lagarde who dominated No. 9 ASU's Savannah Slaysman to move into the Round of 16 as she faced Jessica Failla out of Pepperdine. Failla had just pulled off a three-set upset against No. 2 Jada Hart from UCLA and continued her success against Lagarde with a 6-2; 7-5 win. 

Gaucho sophomore Lise Sentenac faced off against No. 14 Eva Voracek on LMU in the Round of 32 on Friday after a promising start in her former matches. Voracek powered through Sentenac to match up against tournament No. 1, national No. 4 Ashley Lahey form Pepperdine. Lahey took out Voracek on Friday afternoon in the Round of 16 to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.

Much like Sentenac, freshman Anastasia Goncharova had immense success in Rounds 1 and 2. Goncharova played LMU's Camila Tumosa in the Round of 32 on Friday with high aspirations to burst into the Round of 16, but couldn't come away with the victory as she dropped a nail-biter 6-4; 7-5.

The pairs teams of Sentenac-Lev-Ari and Goncharova-Volodko slid past competition in the Round of 64 on Thursday with a bye for each of the duos in the first round. Only two Santa Barbara doubles teams were in play on Friday following the loss from Lagarde-Valero in the First Round. 

Sentenac-Lev-Ari matched up with No.6 duo of freshman Samantha Alicea and junior Savannah Slaysman from Arizona State. The Gauchos kept it tight throughout the contest, but couldn't complete the upset as Alicea-Slaysman finished of the job with an 8-6 single-set win to advance to the Round of 16. 

After a phenomenal run in the Cal Fall Invitational that won Goncharova-Volodko a trophy in the doubles bracket, they looked to continue their success in the ITA Regional as a seeded No.7 pair. However, matched up against USC's Branstine-Weissman, the young duo fell just short with an 8-5 loss. 

Although UC Santa Barbara was knocked out of contention with Friday's games, the squad is set to compete in the extra matches throughout Saturday. In the doubles bracket, Sentenac-Lev-Ari will play University of Arizona pair Tamblyn/Heynemans while Lagarde-Goncharova will take on Rimoldi-Patel from SDSU. Goncharova-Volodko had been paired up during the Regional tournament, but for the extra matches stage, Coach Thibodeau teamed up Goncharova and Lagarde for a fearless freshmen duo.

Lev-Ari and Sentenac have early singles matches playing against Hawaii and SDSU respectively. Goncharova will match up against ASU while Elizaveta Volodko plays USD in the mid morning matches. Lagarde will close out Saturday's matches with a contest against USC's junior Becca Weissman. 

You can follow the Gauchos as they compete over the weekend here on Instagram @ucsbwtennis. You can also follow their Twitter page for updates @UCSBWTennis