Women's Tennis Prepares for Big West Championships

April 26, 2007

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The UCSB women's tennis team is off to Indian Wells, Calif. to compete in the Big West Championships. The winner of the tournament will earn the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos received a four seed and will play Cal Poly in the first round.

"We are ready to fight until the last point and believe we do have a chance to "catch fire" at the right time," UCSB women's tennis Head Coach Pete Kirkwood said. "Although we are going into Friday's match a little banged up we are still a confident group."

The women's tournament will be highly competitive with it featuring three nationally ranked teams -- No. 32 UC Irvine, No. 49 Long Beach State and No. 72 Cal State Fullerton. The winner of the UCSB-Cal Poly match will play the winner of the match between No. 1 seed Irvine and eighth seeded Riverside.

The Gauchos (10-10 overall, 4-3 in the Big West) are coming off a recent conference loss to Long Beach State, which closed out its regular season April 19 at home. The 49ers took the doubles point to build and early lead and subsequently swept through the singles matches as well to take the match 7-0. The only match in which the Beach did not win handily was in No. 6 singles when Long Beach's Rachael Porsz defeated Bryanna Ojeda, 6-2, 7-5.

Santa Barbara defeated Cal Poly in the team's only meeting this season March 17, 3-4. The No. 1 doubles pair of Marta Simic and Charlotte Scatliffe defeated Steffi Wong and Brittany Blalock 8-7 (7-4) and Carina Bjornstrom and Asagi Onaga, playing at the No.2 position, finished off Maria Malec and Shannon Brady 8-5. Brittany Kausen and Tova Hausman completed the doubles sweep beating Diane Filip and Devin Peek 8-2, to give the Gauchos an early 1-0 lead.

Singles play between the Central Coast rivals were considerably more heated than doubles with the Mustangs taking three matches. The Gauchos emerged the victors with strong singles outings from No. 1 Simic, No. Bjornstrom and No. 3 Scatliff.

Santa Barbara is 4-5 in its last nine matches, losing its two most recent matches to Long Beach State and Washington State. The Gauchos took fourth place last year as the two seed at the Big West Championships after losing no No. 5 seed Irvine, 4-2.

First serve is slated for 3 p.m. on Friday against Cal Poly at the Indian Wells tennis garden.