Gauchos to Finish Five-Game Home Stand, Host No. 26 Washington and San Jose State

Juliana Valero (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Juliana Valero (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- To culminate a five-game home-stand, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team hosts No. 26 University of Washington on Friday, February 22 at 1:30 p.m. before it shifts attention to the San Jose State on Sunday, February 24 for a 10 a.m. first serve.

The Gauchos are coming off a 5-2 loss against USC which moved them to 3-2 overall in dual matches this season.

Washington travels in with a 7-1 record following consecutive wins with a 4-3 result against No. 14 NC State and a 6-1 victory over Gonzaga. The only Husky loss this season was a 4-0 defeat at home against No. 2 Vanderbilt.

"Washington will be similar to USC, and we have to be ready," said Head Coach Simon Thibodeau. "We have to stay focused and play our best tennis. I felt we had a good chance to beat USC, but we have to bring the intensity against Washington on Friday to regain some momentum."

Santa Barbara has dominated in doubles play and secures the doubles point in each of its five matches this year.

The success has been consistent from court two. Freshman Anastasia Goncharova and junior Juliana Valero are each 5-0 in doubles and 4-0 when paired up with each other from the second spot.

However with Washington coming to town, the UCSB has a tough doubles matchup against the Huskies who are 17-1 through doubles play this year. Senior Stacey Fung and freshman Nika Zupancic form the No. 35 pair in the country and highlight the Husky frontlines while all other Washington duos are unbeaten from courts two and three.

Fung carried the success over to singles play against Gonzaga last weekend as she bested then-ranked national No. 1 Sophia Whittle with a three set thriller.

Speaking of strong singles play, UCSB junior Amit Lev Ari is 7-2 in her last nine singles matches and has posted a 3-0 mark from court three through dual match season including a win against USC's Rianna Valdes, the only Gaucho win in singles that day.

The San Jose State Spartans enter the weekend having won all four of their dual matches while three of which came at home against Sonoma State, Cal Poly, and San Francisco.

The Spartans haven't lost in singles from courts three, five, and six this season, but that could change as they match up against Washington on Saturday, February 23 for a neutral match at UCSB.

With a big weekend in store, Lev Ari and the Gauchos will compete against Washington on Friday, February 22 at 1:30 p.m. before taking on San Jose State on Sunday at 10 a.m. on the UCSB Rec Cen Courts.