San Diego, Calif. – Thursday's start of the ITA Southwest Regionals was the first time this fall that all seven of the UCSB women's tennis team's players competed. Each player participated in singles play, and had a productive showing as four Gauchos advanced to the next round of the main draws.
"The good thing is that we won seven matches out of 10. It's tough because it's such an individual tournament to an extent," Head Coach Simon Thibodeau said. "There's a couple matches in which we could have competed better, but we have more chances tomorrow. We just want to be competitive in each match that we play in."
The doubles duo of freshman Elizaveta Volodko and junior Stephanie Yamada fared well too with an 8-4 win over Hawaii's Marina Hruba and Michelle Pits. The two were UCSB's only pair to play in the tournament's opening Round of 64.
"For it to be their first time playing together, they did well together despite there still being things to improve upon. They outdueled a Hawaii team pretty comfortably. They'll be ready to compete alongside the other two doubles teams come tomorrow too," Thibodeau said.
Its two other partnerships, No. 6 seeded Natalie Da Silveira and Palina Dubavets along with Amanda Atanasson and Amit Lev Ari, sat out of doubles competition as a result of receiving a first round bye and will play on Friday.
Since ending last season with a loss in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championship back in May, Dubavets made her return to the court with her participation in singles play. Following a bye in the Round of 128, the No. 9 seeded senior faced UC Irvine's Arianna Tilbury.
The time off didn't have much of an effect on Dubavets' performance as she made quick work of the Round of 64 matchup, winning in consecutive sets 6-1; 6-2.
After winning the consolation final at the SMC Fall Invitational, Volodko managed to sustain her momentous play in day one of the ITA Southwest Regionals. Playing as the No. 16 seed, the first-year Gaucho took on Cal State Fullerton's Taini Jadulang.
Jadulang made a solid effort in the match's first set but was unable to secure a win as she fell to Volodko 6-4. There was no stopping Volodko from that point on as she went ahead and powered through Jadulang for a 6-1 victory to end the match.
Continuing UC Santa Barbara's winning stretch for the day was Sentenac, who faced UCLA's Kristin Wiley in the Round of 64 after receiving a bye. It was an uphill battle for both players as they exchanged points before Sentenac emerged for a 7-6 win. The intensity subsided a bit in the next set as UCSB's freshman too control and cruised to a 6-2 win for the match victory.
Lev Ari was the only Gaucho to start the day in the Round of 128 and make it through to the Round of 32. Her journey began with a matchup against UC Riverside's Karla Dulay.
Achieving a commanding start was Lev Ari as she blanked Dulay 6-0 in the first set and downed her with a 6-2 victory in the next set for the win to advance. Lev Ari was met by Hawaii's Roxanne Resma in the Round of 64. Although Resma had a bye prior to facing Lev Ari, the second-year Gaucho pulled off a 6-1; 6-4 win.
Falling short on the day were Da Silveira, Atanasson, and Yamada. Of the three, Da Silveira was the only one to have a bye before playing No. 14 seeded Eva Voracek from Loyola Marymount University, whom she endured a 6-2; 6-2 loss.
Before being eliminated from the main draws, Atanasson managed to earn a 6-4; 7-6 win over LMU's Camila Tumosa. She eventually was stifled by No. 4 seed Ayan Broomfield of UCLA by a score of 7-5; 6-2.
Yamada was also beat by another Bruin, Abi Altick in back-to-back sets 6-1; 6-1.
In spite of the few losses, the return of the three seniors to allow UCSB to have a full team at the ITA Southwest Regionals has been most significant thus far as the Gauchos continue to evaluate their potential within singles and doubles play.
"To win four of the seven was encouraging. Of course you hope for the others to compete better but they had tough opponents as well. Overall, it was good and everyone did their job very well."
Match times for each of UCSB's remaining players in the main draws – Dubavets, Volodko, Sentenac, and Lev Ari – are set for Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m.
Opportunities are also available for those with losses to play in the consolation bracket. Both Da Silveira and Yamada will play in consolation singles matches. Da Silveira will compete first at 10 a.m., while Yamada will be back in action at 11:30 a.m. Attanasson will participate in the sign-in singles at 12:30 p.m.