SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After a disappointing road trip to the Bay Area two weeks ago, where the Gauchos fell short against the University of San Francisco and #53 Santa Clara, UCSB will head on the road yet again, this time to the East Coast, to face off against St. John's University and #55 Princeton University on March 2 and 3.
The Gauchos' tough road trip in Northern California was characterized by inconsistent play in the doubles and singles matches. At the University of San Francisco, UCSB collapsed in doubles but showed resilience and were able to split their singles matches. In their next match at Santa Clara, the Gauchos dominated in doubles, only to drop all of their matches in singles resulting in a 6-1 loss that Coach Marty Davis called, "surprising and somewhat confusing."
UCSB had a two week layoff to, as Coach Marty Davis put it, "figure out what went wrong," before traveling to the East Coast.
The last time the Gauchos had a long break between matches, the team returned to the courts with an emphatic win over LMU. UCSB would like to repeat that feat in their first match of the road trip against St. John's University on Saturday, March 2. The Red Storm started off the dual match season ranked as the #57 team in the country but have since fallen out of the standings due to 7 straight losses to begin their season, 4 of which were sweeps. The Gauchos would like to prolong St. John's losing streak and reverse a two-game skid of their own with a win in Flushing Meadows.
UCSB will travel to New Jersey on Sunday to face #55 Princeton, whose season is taking on a completely different trajectory than St. John's. Princeton shot up ten spots in the national rankings since the beginning of the season and has won their past two matches in 7-0 sweeps. The Tigers boast a top-ten ranked singles player, #6 Matija Pecotic, and the nation's #29 team in doubles including the aforementioned Pecotic and his partner Zack McCourt. The Ivy League squad will be a tough test for the Gauchos and will present a "golden opportunity" according to Coach Davis, to make a jump in the standings.
Due to the massive shake-up in the standings after the ITA National Rankings switched to the computer system (as opposed to being done by committee), the Gauchos took a tumble out of the national rankings, falling out of the top-75. The Gauchos' win-loss record now stands at 2-3 on the dual match season.
Action is set to begin against St. John's at 4:00 PM (EST) in Flushing Meadows, New York at the National Tennis Center on Saturday, March 2. The Gauchos will then travel to nearby New Jersey for their match against Princeton at Jadwin Gymnasium, beginning at 11:00 AM (EST) on Sunday, March 3.