Irvine, Calif. – Sometimes time off can hurt a team's performance. But in the case of the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team, having time away from competing allowed it to rest and ultimzately led to the Gauchos 4-0 shutout of UC Irvine.
Currently on a two-match win streak after Saturday's victory, UCSB is now 8-12 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The Gauchos face Cal State Fullerton tomorrow and could possibly move up from third to second in the Big West. The Titans are 5-1 in the conference standings after their 4-1 win over Cal Poly on Saturday.
UCSB's win over UCI on Saturday resulted in the Anteaters remaining winless in conference play at 0-6 while also falling to 8-14 on the season.
"It was good to be back on the court and earn a 4-0 victory. It was a hot day so it was very important to keep the focus, be able to execute and set the pace," Assistant Coach Maria Fernanda Alves said.
UC Santa Barbara undoubtedly went ahead and set both the execution and pace with a dominant start to the day during doubles play.
It was the first time that the two had played alongside each other since Feb. 24. The pair is now 3-1 on the season with one unfinished match.
Closing out the doubles point for UCSB was its veteran duo of senior Palina Dubavets and Natlie Da Silveira, who tallied a 6-3 win against Stephanie Hazell and Danielle Garrido. The win gave UCSB a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.
The change in pairing also led to a switch up of UCSB's No. 3 tandem. Playing on court three for the Gauchos was senior Amanda Atanasson and junior Stephanie Yamada. Similar to Sentenac and Lev Ari, much time had passed since Atanasson and Yamada had played with each other, dating back to Feb. 3.
"I believe that overall, we had great energy out on the court today, and really turned things around on those courts that were down," Yamada explained. "I definitely feel things are coming together for conference. I have great belief for our team."
Atanasson and Yamada ended doubles play with a 4-3 lead over the Anteaters' duo of Vivien Dvali and Yulin Chen before the match was ruled unfinished due to wins on courts one and three.
Santa Barbara's consistency rolled over into singles play. Striking first on behalf of the Gauchos was Sentenac with a win in straight sets over Tilbury 6-3, 6-0 to improve UCSB's lead to 2-0.
Quickly following up the victory was Lev Ari, who pieced together a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Amiri.
Emerging to secure the Gauchos' match victory was Yamada. The third-year player made quick work of UCI's Jacqueline Tsodikova, defeating her 6-2, 6-1 to lock up the 4-0 win for UCSB.
"I personally focused on having a positive attitude out on court and to be as supportive to my teammates playing beside me, which positively impacted my performance."
UCSB will be back on the courts at 11 a.m. to face Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, April 15.