January 20, 2006

Veteran Gaucho Team Travels to UCLA, Fresno State to Open 2006 Campaign

Jan. 20, 2006

This Week
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at UCLA Bruins
at UCLA's Tennis Stadium

Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 9:00 a.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Fresno State Bulldogs
at FSU Spalding G. Wathen Tennis Center

UCSB Takes To The Road To Open 2006
The UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team will open its 2006 season with a lengthy road trip. Actually it won't be one trip, that could cause some serious trouble in the class room, but the Gauchos will play their first five matches of the campaign on the road before playing their home opener on Feb. 19 against UC Riverside. UCSB will travel to play its opener at 12th-ranked UCLA on Tuesday, Jan. 24 and then the Gauchos will play at 46th-ranked Fresno State on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Gauchos One Of Four Big West Teams To Open Season Ranked
UCSB is one of four Big West schools that open the 2006 season ranked among the nation's top-70. The Gauchos, who return almost their entire roster from the 2005 season, begin the year ranked 69th nationally. In addition to UCSB, defending league champion Long Beach State is ranked 57th, Pacific is 63rd and UC Irvine checks-in at 68th.

UCSB Opens Year With Familiar Faces
At least to open the year, the Gauchos lineup will be almost unchanged from the 2005 lineup. Three-time All-Big West honoree Marielle Gruenig will open at No. 1, 2005 Second Team All-Big West choice Chelsea Glynn will open at No. 2, two-time All-Big West selection Andrea Pintar will open at No. 3, Charlotte Scatliffe will open at No. 4 and Leslie Damion will open at No. 5. The only change in the singles lineup to open the year will be Kristen Wilson at No. 6. Wilson will be substituting for Mio Fukushima who should return by the third match of the year. The doubles lineup will change a bit. Gruenig will team with Glynn at No. 1, a combination that played in 10 dual matches last season. Pintar and Scatliffe will play No. 2 to open the year. The Pintar/Scatliffe duo did not play together in 2005. At No. 3, the Gauchos will open with Damion and Wilson, also a new pair. When Fukushima returns, she will likely team with Damion.

Gruenig Leads Returning Senior Citizens
Marielle Gruenig is one of six returning seniors for the Gauchos. Last year, Gruenig earned First Team All-Big West recognition for the second time (she has also earned one Second Team All-Big West honor) after posting a 25-3 overall record and a 19-2 dual match mark. Her winning percentage of 89.3% was the second best single-season mark in UCSB history. In addition, Gruenig was 15-11 overall at No. 1 doubles, playing with two different partners. Chelsea Glynn was a Second Team All-Big West selection after posting a 20-10 overall record and a 15-8 dual match mark while playing mostly No. 2. She too is a senior. Andrea Pintar, another senior, earned Second Team All-Big West as a doubles player in 2005. She was 16-8 overall and in dual matches while playing mostly No. 3. Leslie Damion is the fourth senior in the starting lineup. In 2005, Damion was 15-11 overall, 15-9 in dual matches while playing primarily at No. 5. Mio Fukushima is the fifth senior expected to be in the starting lineup. She will return for the third match of the year. Last year, Fukushima was 11-14 overall, 8-12 in dual matches while playing mostly No. 6. The sixth senior on the roster, Amy Vyhnis, played in three dual matches in 2005 and she posted a 1-2 record at No. 5.

The Younger Generation
Sophomore Charlotte Scatliffe and junior Kristen Wilson open the year as the only non-seniors in the starting lineup. Scatliffe had an outstanding freshman season for the Gauchos going 16-12 overall, including 13-10 in dual matches. She was 13-8 at No. 4 singles and she was 13-9 overall in doubles, including 5-5 when she teamed with Gruenig at No. 1. Wilson was 2-3 in dual matches last season with all of her appearances combing at No. 6.

Kirkwood Makes It An Even Dozen
UCSB head coach Pete Kirkwood is entering his 12th season. Last year, Kirkwood's Gauchos bounced back from a sub-par season with a solid 15-9 record. This year, UCSB opens the year ranked 69th nationally. Kirkwood has guided Santa Barbara to a 125-149 record in 11 years. His 1995 and 1996 teams won the Big West Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, the Gauchos went 20-7 and won the league's regular season crown. Kirkwood has coached numerous All-Big West honorees and several Big West Players of the Year. He has also coached a trio of All-Americans.