Dubavets and Volodko Win Doubles Title at Jack Kramer Invitational

Palina Dubavets and Elizaveta Volodko posing with their championship trophy (Photo by Simon Thibodeau)
Palina Dubavets and Elizaveta Volodko posing with their championship trophy (Photo by Simon Thibodeau)



Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. – A victory over UCLA's Helen Altick and Terri Fleming paired with a win by default led to a Jack Kramer doubles title for the UCSB women's tennis team on Saturday.

At the end of the day, it was the Gauchos' duo of Palina Dubavets and Elizaveta Volodko who hoisted the championship trophy.

"It was crazy," Volodko said. "We played really well together because we understand each other. I was a little nervous going against Fleming and Altick because they've won against our team in the past, but we coped with everything despite being down 0-3 early in the match. We got better game by game."

The tournament's top talents were involved as the championship final resulted in a battle between UCSB's No. 2 seed vs UCLA's No. 3 seed.

There was no shortage of competitive intensity in the match as it took a tiebreaker to decide the winner. Following a near even exchange of points, emerging for an 8-7(4) semifinal victory late in the match was Dubavets and Volodko.

The two Gauchos ended up not actually having to play in the invite's final round as Brigham Young University's Anastasia Abramyan and Kate Cusick withdrew, automatically awarding the title to the UC Santa Barbara pair.

Dubavets and Volodko provided Santa Barbara with its best chance to claim the title as the team's other doubles tandem of Natalie Da Silveira and Amit Lev Ari were shutout 8-0 by the BYU pair.

Before claiming the title in the doubles main draws, a singles matchup between the winning pair took place. It was a scenario that even Head Coach Simon Thibodeau had never seen. The winner would advance to the tournament's semifinal round.

While the combination of Volodko's freshman youth and Dubavets senior experience nicely complemented each other in the doubles bracket, it was Dubavets' veteran savviness that propelled her to a 7-5, 7-5 win over her colleague.

The final result ended with one teammate being responsible for eliminating the other, but for Volodko, it was a circumstance that she was familiar with as she viewed the loss as a learning experience.

"When I was in Moscow, Russia, I practiced in a club and always played in tournaments against my teammates, so I'm used to it. I didn't play as good as I wanted because I made some bad mistakes. I'm still 17, but I've learned a lot. College tennis is very different from ITA or Russian tournaments because of how professional it is when it comes to thinking about tennis and winning matches."

Getting the best of Dubavets after the win over her doubles partner was none other than UCLA's Altick by a score of 6-3, 6-4.

The doubles victory plus the singles losses of Volodko and Dubavets marked the end of UCSB's participation in the main draws pool.

Select players played in the tournament's consolation matches. This included Lise Sentenac, who defeated the University of Washington's Kenadi Hance 6-2, 6-3.

Also putting together wins in the extra singles matches offered was Stephanie Yamada. She won in three sets against an opponent from Georgetown University. Following suit was Amanda Atanasson, who went head-to-head against a Hoya as well, yet won 8-3.

Sentenac and Atanasson also played in an extra doubles match, and managed to come out victorious over a BYU pair with an 8-7(3).  

Another Gaucho that was involved with the field of extra matches was Da Silveira. She fell short in her meeting against UCLA's Fleming as a result of a 6-2, 6-1 loss.

Although some shortcomings did occur for the Gauchos over the course of the Jack Kramer Invitational, they convincingly look like a team that has grown from each of its experiences this fall.

"I'm satisfied with our team's performances here in Palos Verdes," Thibodeau said. "It's these competitive matches that makes us better. I'm happy for Palina and Elizaveta, who had good chemistry throughout the doubles tournament. It's unfortunate they couldn't face BYU in the Sunday final. But they deserve it, considering that they still went undefeated and competed well."

UCSB will be back in action next week, starting on Friday, Nov. 10 as it will participate in the Matador Classic.