Auburn, Ala. – It was an underwhelming return to the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for the UCSB women's tennis program as it was shutout 4-0 by No. 17 University of Miami (Fla.).
The Gauchos were unable to win a match on the day in both singles and doubles. A total of two singles matches and court No. 2's doubles match were ruled unfinished due to the Hurricanes' ability to secure victories and eventually reach the four-point winning mark.
Despite being blanked on day one of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, UCSB Head Coach Simon Thibodeau was optimistic about his team's performance.
"Miami is a strong team. They were more opportunistic than we were," he said. "The score doesn't reflect how close this match was. It was a big battle and well fought match. We will need to reset quickly and be more consistent against Tulane tomorrow morning."
UC Santa Barbara will compete against the Green Wave in its regional's consolation Sunday morning at 8 a.m. PST. Tulane is coming off a 4-0 loss to No. 13 Auburn, who will face Miami in the regional championship.
Entering Saturday, UC Santa Barbara had won the doubles point in both of its season opening matchups. Against the Hurricanes, the Gauchos saw their streak come to an end as Miami won both matches on courts three and one.
After not participating in last Saturday's match against USC due to an undisclosed injury, freshman Lise Sentenac made her return to the court alongside freshman Elizaveta Volodko in doubles play. The pair of newcomers faced Miami's Sinead Lohan and Ulyana Shirokova.
But Sentenac's return was not enough to overcome the Hurricanes' tandem as they managed to defeat UCSB's freshmen by a final score of 6-3. Sentenac and Volodko remain winless when playing with each other in doubles.
The battle between UCSB's seniors Natalie Da Silveira and Palina Dubavets against Miami's Ana Madcur Estela Perez-Somarriba on court No. 1 ended up being the final match of doubles play. Santa Barbara's duo nearly forced a split, but fell short 6-4, giving UCSB a 1-0 deficit heading into singles play.
The doubles pair of senior Amanda Atanasson and junior Stephanie Yamada seemed to be heading into extra sets against the Hurricanes' Dominika Paterova and Daniella Roldan, but the court two matchup came to an unfinished end at 5-5.
Trailing for the first time going into singles competition, the Gauchos never managed to establish any momentum to get on the scoreboard.
Dubavets was tasked with the tough challenge of facing the nation's 36th ranked singles player in Perez-Somarriba. She got the best of Dubavets in the first set, making quick work of the Gauchos' top player with a 6-0 win.
The duel continued with Dubavets nearly making a comeback, but concluded with Somarriba ending things off with a 6-4 victory to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead.
"In a big picture, the match was very long and each of us were fighting hard, screaming and all the matches were really intense," Dubavets said. "It was a positive thing, but credit to Miami, they were staying even more solid on most of the courts and had good focus at the key moments.
Down by two, the Gauchos looked to fend off a Miami team that was looking to close things out. For the first time in this early season, Yamada was handed her first loss on the behalf of Miami's Shirokova.
The reigning Big West women's tennis Athlete of the Week award winner pushed Shirokova to the limit in the first set, but could not close late in the set and was defeated 7-5. From that point on, the momentum shifted and Yamada lost the second set 6-1.
Ending UCSB's chances at a possible comeback was Volodko's 6-4, 6-3 loss to Paterova, which earned Miami's 4-0 victory over the Gauchos. Matchups between Da Silveira and No. 41 Sinead Lohan, in addition to Atanasson and Roldan were ruled unfinished.
The loss makes UCSB 0-2 against top 25 nationally ranked opponents this season. Thus far, it is evident that UC Santa Barbara must find ways to step up during late match situations.
"What can be improved is our execution on important points, like deuce, or even scores in matches," Dubavets said. "As a senior, with Natalie and Amanda, I think we should show a good example of fighting and execution to our other teammates. Also, we must show how to stay more professional before, during, and after matches."
UCSB will take on Tulane at 8 a.m. this Satuday, Jan. 28 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend's consolation match.
UC Santa Barbara: 1-2 Miami: 1-0; score: Miami- 4, UCSB- 0
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (1,5,4)
1. #36 E. Perez-Somarriba (UM) def. Palina Dubavets (UCSB) 6-0, 6-4
2. #41 Sinead Lohan (UM) vs. Natalie Da Silveira (UCSB) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0, unfinished
3. Daniella Roldan (UM) vs. Amanda Atanasson (UCSB) 7-6 (7-3), 4-1, unfinished
4. Dominika Paterova (UM) def. Elizaveta Volodko (UCSB) 6-4, 6-3
5. Ulyana Shirokova (UM) def. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) 7-5, 6-1
6. Ana Madcur (UM) vs. Amit Lev Ari (UCSB) 5-7, 4-5, unfinished