San Diego, Calif. – The doubles duo of Natalie Da Silveira and Palina Dubavets became the first ever UCSB women's tennis pair to advance to the ITA Southwest Regionals final during the Simon Thibodeau era.
Awaiting the UCSB pair was the tournament's No. 2 seed, UCLA's Gabby Andrews and Jada Hart, who defeated Da Silveira and Dubavets in back-to-back sets 6-4; 6-2.
Considering that the ITA Southwest Regionals served as the first time the Gaucho pair had ever played with each other, Da Silveira and Dubavets remain encouraged knowing that there's an upside to their doubles partnership.
"We're both seniors so we had the mindset of just trying to enjoy every moment and the whole process together. We did our best to play loose and [appreciate playing together]," Da Siveira explained. "Palina and I have a lot of potential to do really well this year. The more you play with your partner, the more you get to learn about their game and what it's like to have her next to me in a match."
UC Santa Barbara's tandem managed to clinch its championship appearance following a win by default in the semifinals against No. 7 seeded doubles partners Veronika Miroshnichenko and Eva Voracek of Loyola Marymount University. A member of LMU's doubles team had to withdraw due to illness, forcing the program to forfeit the match.
In spite of the finals loss, Da Silveira and Dubavets leave the ITA Southwest Regionals with a winning standard to build upon after playing with one another the past four days.
"It felt good playing in our first tournament together. We both have had different partners in the past who have had different playing styles so it was [one thing to get on the same page and compete]," Dubavets said. "The main goal for the next tournament is to get as many ranked wins as we can in hopes of starting the season in the top 20, 10, or as far as we can in doubles play."
With neither of the two competing at a high level over the summer, their return to the court for the fall season was refreshing, especially with the ITA Southwest Regionals being the first event in which UCSB's full roster participated.
"I thought it was awesome [to have the whole team there]," Da Silveira said. "It's really fun to travel altogether. We have two new freshmen [Elizaveta and Lise], in which it was nice to see them competing and challenging some of the top players in the country. It kind of gives us a taste of what the [regular] season will feel like. Having a bunch of us playing, cheering for each other and having our teammates in our corner when we look over knowing that they're there is nice."
UCSB will continue its fall tournament run at the Jack Kramer Invitational in Rolling Hills Estate, Calif. It will begin on Thursday, Nov. 2. Times are to be announced.