SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Eyeing a strong finish on its seven-match road trip, UC Santa Barbara women's tennis travels to Orlando, Fla., home of No. 16 University of Central Florida, where the Gauchos will play three matches at the USTA National Campus.
The Gauchos, now 1-4 after four consecutive matches against top-25 teams, have muscled through prodigious competition within the first two weeks of the season, including matches against No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Florida State University.
As UCSB makes the trip from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic, Head Coach Simon Thibodeau contends the value in a tough non-conference schedule.
"Playing teams like these, they only make us better," said Thibodeau. "Everyone has been using these opportunities to learn. Each player has improved their scouting, and stylistically, we're growing every day."
Up first on UCSB's schedule in Orlando, the Nebraska Huskers come in with a 4-1 record, despite a recent loss against Baylor that snapped a four-match win streak. The Huskers have yet to play against top-25 competition this season.
Last season, Nebraska went 10-17 with a pair of losses against Wisconsin and Minnesota in the Big-Ten Tournament to cap off their year.
TCU also enters Orlando with a promising 2-0 record with wins over Rice and New Mexico, but this will be the first time the Horned Frogs take to the road this year.
The most notable team competing over the weekend will undoubtedly be No. 15 UCF. The Knights are 3-2 this season with wins against No. 18 Texas A&M, Utah and Cornell. UCF has only suffered a pair of losses this season, falling 4-3 to No. 4 Florida State and 4-2 to No. 12 Michigan.
UCF has three nationally ranked singles players led by No. 32 Rebeka Stolmar who also comprises half of the the No. 5 doubles pair in the nation when teamed up with Marie Mattel.
The Knights sport three of the top-45 nationally ranked doubles pairs, and with the Gauchos coming to town, UCSB looks to unseat a strong duos push from UCF.