Gauchos Host Unbeaten Nevada, Saint Mary’s for First Home Matches of Season

Elizaveta Volodko (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Elizaveta Volodko (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team will host University of Nevada on Friday, February 8 at 10 a.m. before a match against University of Saint Mary's on Saturday, February 9 at 11 a.m. on UCSB's Rec Cen Tennis Courts.

Through two dual matches, the Gauchos have a 1-1 record following a split during ITA Kick-Off Weekend with a loss against No. 22 University of Florida which preceded a 4-3 triumph over Mississippi State in Gainesville, Fla. to open the season.

Leading the charge for the Gauchos will be sophomore Elizaveta Volodko who earned recognition following her strong kick-off performance as she currently ranks No. 123 in the country on the ITA Singles Rankings.

"For me, I'm more concerned about every single point and playing every single ball," said Volodko. "I focus on playing against myself and making my shots and try not to make easy, unforced errors."

The Moscow, Russia native battled and injury for the majority of last season, but bounced back in elite fashion during opening weekend with a huge win against Mississippi State's No. 55 Magda Adaloglou on court one after junior Dominika Paterova went down with a minor knee injury.

"I've been focusing on my mental game," added Volodko. "Every single player out here can find a way to win, but you need to find the best strategy to do it consistently."

Much like Volodko, freshman Anastasia Goncharova had an exceptional ITA Kick-Off weekend with victories in both of her doubles matches which earned herself a nomination for Big West Athlete of the Week.

By her side, junior Juliana Valero excelled during the Gauchos first weekend of the season as she went undefeated in two doubles matches with an additional singles' win to clinch the victory over Mississippi State.

Across the net, the Gauchos face an unbeaten Nevada squad boasting a 5-0 record through five matches, however only two of the five Wolfpack wins have come against Division I opponents.

Playing on Saturday, Saint Mary's travels in with a 1-3 dual match record as the Gaels opened up their season with three straight losses including a 4-0 defeat to No. 1 Stanford on ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

UCSB hopes to return a key players in freshman Tiffany Lagarde after she was sidelined with injury for the opening matches against University of Florida and Mississippi State.

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