Big West Starts with a Bang as Gauchos Wrangle Aggies

Tiffany Lagarde (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Tiffany Lagarde (Photo by Tony Mastres)

DAVIS, Calif.- Despite harsh weather conditions, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team trounced the UC Davis Aggies with a 5-1 triumph in the Gauchos' Big West Conference opener.

"We traveled a lot and have been itching to play all weekend, but the rain kept getting in the way," said Head Coach Simon Thibodeau. "We were relentless in singles today. I'm happy with our performance, and it's a good conference win."

With the convincing victory to open its conference slate, UCSB improves to 5-3 overall, 1-0 in Big West play, while UC Davis drops to 3-7 in dual matches and 2-3 in conference play.

Sophomore Lise Sentenac electrified to open the day with a 6-0, 6-0 two-set sweep over freshman Skyler Holm to give the Gauchos an early boost from court six.

In similar fashion, junior Juliana Valero powered through redshirt-junior Kelsie Bryant for a 6-1, 6-3 finish in the five-spot to give the Gauchos a 2-0 lead.

To put Davis in a 3-0 hole, senior captain Stephanie Yamada applied pressure at No. 4 with a 6-0, 6-2 rout over UCD's Jessica Walker to pin the Aggies with their backs to the wall.

For the clincher, junior Amit Lev Ari dispatched sophomore Sara Tsukamoto with a 6-3, 6-4 clutch victory to secure the win for the Gauchos from the second court.

On court three, freshman Tiffany Lagarde edged sophomore Shirley Hall in a thrilling 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) sweep to deal the Aggies the loss and deliver a win for the Gauchos in their Big West opener.

The only positive Davis result on the day came as junior Nikita Pradeep slipped past Elizaveta Volodko 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 on court one.

Both teams agreed to scratch doubles play in Davis as the Gauchos came away with a resounding 5-1 domination over the Aggies to start out Big West play on the highest possible note.

Santa Barbara was scheduled to play No. 5 UCLA and No. 16 Cal earlier in the weekend, however, the matches were canceled due to poor court conditions as a result of inclement weather.

Following the win, the Gauchos head to No. 17 Pepperdine next Saturday, March 9 for an 11 a.m. first serve against Ashley Lahey and a confident 4-3 Waves squad.

Tennis Match Results:

UC Santa Barbara 5, UC Davis 1

Singles Competition:

1. Nikita Pradeep (UCD) def. Elizaveta Volodko (UCSB) 1-6, 6-3, 6-2

2. Amit Lev Ari (UCSB) def. Sara Tsukamoto (UCD) 6-3, 6-4

3. Tiffany Lagarde (UCSB) def. Shirley Hall (UCD) 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5)

4. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) def. Jessica Walker (UCD) 6-0, 6-2

5. Juliana Valero (UCSB) def. Kelsie Bryant (UCD) 6-1, 6-3

6. Lise Sentenac (UCSB) def. Skylar Holm (UCD) 6-0, 6-0

Match Notes:

UC Davis 3-7 overall, 2-3 Big West

UC Santa Barbara 5-3 overall, 1-0 Big West

Order of finish: Singles (6, 5, 4, 2, 1, 3)

Match started with singles to avoid inclement weather. Doubles was not played.