Gauchos Host Anteaters, Look to Dethrone Titans in Weekend Matchups

Lise Sentenac (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Lise Sentenac (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Back at home for a pair of matches, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team will face off with UC Irvine on Saturday, April 13 at 1:30 p.m. before hosting the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Sunday, April 14 at 10 a.m.

"We're heading into the final stretch and it's time to double down," said Head Coach Simon Thibodeau. "We're eyeing another Big West Championship and Irvine and Fullerton are our next obstacles in that path. They're both good teams and we have to be playing our best at this point in the season."

The Gauchos are in second place in the Big West Conference with a 3-1 league record and a 9-7 overall dual match record.

Elizaveta Volodko is coming off a perfect 2-0 weekend from singles No. 3 and looks to improve on her 2-win hot streak while teamed up with Anastasia Goncharova in doubles.

Goncharova and Volodko had both cycled through doubles pairs this season, but it seemed inevitable they would team up again following the duo's strong start in late September when they broke free to win the Cal Fall Invitational.

Volodko and Goncharova remain the sole undefeated Gaucho pair with six wins on the year and zero losses.

UC Irvine sits in the sixth spot of the Big West standings, but has lost five of its last six matches including a 4-0 defeat by Fullerton.

The Anteaters are 13-8 in dual matches with a 2-3 conference record, however four of their non-conference wins have come against non-division one opponents.

Irvine peppered it schedule with low-level Division I competition which has plagued the program come conference play.

The Eaters' deep roster has tested many lineups and even more doubles pairs so its difficult to predict which set the Gauchos will face, but the most singles wins on Irvine are delievered by Jessica Tsukiji in spots one through four.

Tsukiji has a 10-3 dual match singles record while there are three separate Irvine pairs with a 4-0 doubles record. No Irvine doubles duo has played in more than a third of the Anteaters matches all season.

Coming to town on Sunday, the Fullerton Titans currently boast the first-place spot in the Big West with an overall 12-4 record including a 4-1 record against conference opponents.

Jadie Acidera owns the top Titan singles record with nine wins and zero losses in dual macthes this year and remains a perfect 8-0 from court six.

The majority of Fullerton wins come from court six with a .929 win percentage while the Titans also excel with a 12-2 record from court three.

Fullerton doesn't necessarily have an achilles heel, but it hasn't played much high-level competition this year, so the Gauchos hope their non-conference schedule has prepared them for tough conference meetings.

With the Big West Tournament creeping up in two weeks, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team is tasked with Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine in what is sure to be a decisive moment in the Gauchos' season.