UCSB Back in Action at ITA Southwest Regionals

Palina Dubavets (Photo by Kelley L. Cox)
Palina Dubavets (Photo by Kelley L. Cox)

Santa Barbara, Calif. – The fall season continues for the UCSB women's tennis team as it is set to play in the ITA Southwest Regional. After having just four players participate in the SMC Fall Invitational, UC Santa Barbara's entire seven-player roster made the trip for this week's tournament.

Each of UCSB's players will play in singles play. Meanwhile, six of its seven members, excluding Sentenac, will participate in doubles play.

Influencing the decision for the full lineup to play is the tournament's influx of players, resulting in singles play consisting of a Round of 128 while doubles play will begin with a Round of 64.

Scheduled to take place from Thursday, Oct. 19 through Monday, Oct. 23, the ITA Southwest Regional has a single elimination format.

"[This tournament] will be an evaluation as we prepare to face even more ranked players," Head Coach Simon Thibodeau said. "So, we'll see how we can measure up with the best players in the country because a lot of them are from the Southwest. We're going to try to take care of business, and really try to get after those top players, get some good wins and gain some confidence."

Along with the increase in amount of players participating comes the magnification of talent competing as well, which will be a good opportunity for the Gauchos to continue to build upon their strengths and weaknesses.

"Since we got back from Saint Mary's, we had five very good practice days. We went over video, analyzed and had meetings about improvements and where they need to get better," Thibodeau said. "We film as well at practice, which I think helped make those five days even more productive. We're also going to an event where the whole team is there, which I think is even better for the team's spirit."

Despite the near two week layoff between the tournaments, UCSB shall carry some momentum into its second slate of fall competition. The Gauchos are coming off having winners in both the singles and doubles consolation brackets. Claiming these victories were Elizaveta Volodko in the singles flight, while Amit Lev Ari and Stephanie Yamada won their final doubles matchup.

Making fall debuts is the Gauchos' senior cohort of Palina Dubavets, Amanda Atanasson, and Natalie Da Silveira.

A two-time First Team All-Big West singles and doubles selectee in consecutive years since her arrival at UCSB, Dubavets is UC Santa Barbara's highest seeded player in the ITA Southwest Regional at No. 9.

To her benefit, she has received a bye in the Round of 128 and has advanced to the Round of 64 where she will await the results of some Big West counterparts – UC Irvine's Arianna Tilbury and Cal State Northridge's Skayla Alcon.

Dubavets made it to the Southwest Regionals Round of 16 last fall but was eventually eliminated.

The only other seeded Gaucho is Volodko, who will play as the No. 16 seed. Both Volodko and her opponent, Cal State Fullerton's Taini Judulang, had byes and will face each other in the Round of 64.

Also making an appearance in the Round of 64 after being granted a bye is Da Silveira. The fourth-year Gaucho will have the chance to pull off an upset as she will face No. 14 seeded Eva Voracek of Loyola Marymount University.

Rounding out Santa Barbara's core of players provided with a bye is freshman Lise Sentenac. Instead of playing in an early morning match, the newcomer will face the winner of San Diego State's Berta Acero and UCLA's Kristin Wiley in the Round of 64.  

But UCSB isn't exempt from all Round of 128 play as Atanasson, Yamada and Lev Ari will compete in the large field of players.

Playing in what will be her final ITA Southwest Regional, Atanasson will start the tournament facing off against LMU's Camila Tumosa.

The lone junior on UCSB's roster, Yamada may be able to take advantage of her collegiate experiences in her bout against UCLA freshman Abi Altick. The Gauchos involvement will also include Lev Ari taking on UC Riverside's Karla Dulay.

Doubles play looks like it will be a time of experimentation for UC Santa Barbara, who enters the regionals with some changes that even led to the split of the winning duo of Lev Ari and Yamada.

Among UCSB's three doubles groups, the veteran pairing of Da Silveira and Dubavets has been tabbed as the sixth seed. Following a bye, the two will go head-to-head against Grand Canyon University's Ludovica Infantino and Martina Lo Pumo this Friday in a Round of 32 matchup.

Capitalizing upon a bye as well will be the duo of Atanasson and Lev Ari as they too hold a spot within the Round of 32. UCSB's pair will wait to face the winner of USC's Angela Kulikov and Becca Weissmann vs LMU's Tumosa and Yesica De Lucas.

Taking part in the Round of 64, Volodko and Yamada will join forces to play in what could be a potential conference contest in the future as they will battle against Hawaii's Marina Hruba and Michelle Pits.

Although UCSB's first fall tournament helped provide a preview of the skillsets of specific players, its choice to have its full roster compete in the ITA Southwest Regionals with provide a more in-depth look into the team's potential.

Singles and doubles play will commence at 9 a.m. with the exclusion of those who were permitted a bye.