Gauchos Host Eagles, Zags in Midweek Matchups

Anastasia Goncharova (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Anastasia Goncharova (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- For its final games at home before a two week hiatus, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team will host back-to-back matchups against the 8-5 Marquette Golden Eagles on Wednesday, March 13 and 6-5 Gonzaga on Thursday, March 14.

Heading into UCSB's penultimate non-conference matchup, the Gauchos hold a 5-5 dual match record and have thrived in doubles play all season.

Anastasia Goncharova has impressed alongside Juliana Valero with a 6-2 double record in dual matches as the dup made the move from the two-spot to court one against San Jose State and has maintained their spot in the one-hole since.

As of late, Amit Lev Ari and Lise Sentenac have been a force from court three with three straight doubles wins against prominent pairs to boast a 4-2 overall doubles record. Only one of their losses has come during dual match play.

Lev Ari has been a dual threat as of late with a 6-3 singles record while going 5-2 in dual match doubles as she made the leap from court three up to second in the lineup after a promising start to the season. The junior earned her second Athlete of the Week nomination after going 3-1 in last weekend's matches.

As for the upcoming opponents, Marquette is often hit or miss. The Golden Eagles have some blowout wins against lower end teams, but when they play better competition, Marquette really seems to struggle.

Coming off of a 4-0 loss against LMU, 11 of the Eagles 13 contests this season have been decided by four or more points compared to just two of ten from UCSB. The Gauchos put up a fight time and time again, so if it turns into a grudge match, Marquette might struggle down the stretch.

Despite their 6-5 record, Gonzaga will be a much more difficult opponent. UCSB was scheduled to play the Zags on February 3, but due to rain the match was postponed.

Led by singles No. 7 Sophia Whittle, who at one point was ranked the top singles player in the nation this year, the Zags record is not indicative of their potential.

Three of the five losses by Gonzaga this season have been dealt by top-10 programs in No. 3 Duke, No. 7 Washington, and No. 8 Oklahoma State, so Whittle and the Zags are no stranger to tough matchups.

To form the No. 25 doubles pair in the country, Whittle teams up with Garciela Rosas for an unbeaten 13-0 dual match doubles record.

The two home matches are the final games at home for UCSB before conference play.

Hoping to gain some footing before a two-week break, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team will play a pair of midweek matches against Marquette on Wednesday, March 13 at 1 p.m. before taking on Gonzaga on Thursday, March 14 at 12 p.m. at the Rec. Cen. courts on the UCSB campus.