Santa Barbara, Calif. – Unlike the cancellation of its Saturday matchup, clear skies enabled the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team to carry through with its scheduled Sunday contest versus Loyola Marymount University.
In spite of playing on its own home court, UCSB was unable to fend off the Lions, who managed to edge the Gauchos with a 4-3 victory. Following Sunday, the Gauchos have lost three of their last four matches, and are now 6-9 after losing their second consecutive match.
LMU, now 8-2, extended its winning streak to seven-straight matches. UCSB was the final Big West team the Lions have scheduled on their non-conference schedule. LMU dominated Big West opponents, finishing 4-0.
"We had the doubles point and it slipped away from us," Head Coach Simon Thibodeau said. "In singles, we knew [LMU] was strong high in their lineup. We fought hard on all courts and split the singles, but that wasn't enough."
Within the span of losing three of its last four matches, UCSB has also lost the doubles point in each defeat. Sunday's doubles point came down to an intense match that ultimately ended with UCSB's senior duo of Palina Dubavets and Natalie Da Silveira having their streak of five matches without a loss come to an end.
Still, the Gauchos showed promise in the match's doubles opening. UC Santa Barbara managed to strike first, as sophomore Amit Lev Ari and senior Amanda Atanasson put together a 6-4 win over LMU's Siobhan Anderson and Elvira Juravliova.
Despite being ahead of the Lions by one game, UCSB was unable to close out the doubles point on courts one or three. Answering back on LMU's behalf was the duo of Yesica De Lucas and Sofiya Gaisina, who earned a 6-4 defeat of the Gauchos' tandem of junior Stephanie Yamada and freshman Lise Sentenac on court No. 3.
The intensity was at an all-time high in the battle to win the final doubles game. It was a battle that consisted of two of the ITA's top 40 doubles pairs – No. 39 Dubavets and Da Silveira against LMU's No. 33 combo of Veronica Miroshnichenko and Eva Marie Voracek.
Playing on court one, both sides traded points, in which led to extras needing to be played. When all was said and done, it was the Lions' pair that outlasted the Gauchos with a 7(6)-6 victory to clinch the doubles point and take a 1-0 lead.
Trailing going into singles play, Santa Barbara didn't show defeat in its play as Lev Ari tallied the first singles win of the day.
The second year player defeated LMU's De Lucas in consecutive sets 6-2, 6-2 to knot the Gauchos and Lions at one apiece. Lev Ari has now won in two of her last three singles matches, with one match ending with an unfinished result.
"I was pleased with Amit's focus and consistency," Thibodeau said. "She was the first to get the win on the six courts. [But at the end of the day, we lost], and now we need to focus on Harvard, and play tough from start to finish."
But the tie didn't last long as LMU collected two-straight wins to regain a lead at 3-1. Helping push the Lions ahead was Miroshnichenko, who is No. 30 in the ITA singles rankings, with a 7-6, 6-2 win over Dubavets. Extending LMU's momentum was Voracek with a 6-2, 7-5 defeat of UCSB's Da Silveira. Sunday marked the return of Da Silveira to the No. 2 spot for the Gauchos.
UC Santa Barbara cut the two-point deficit to one at 3-2; following a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win by Atanasson over Anderson on court No. 3.
But Santa Barbara's comeback attempt was cut short due to Sentenac enduring a close loss to Juravliova in straight sets 6-4, 7-6(4). Although LMU won both the match overall and its final point, Sunday's matchup continued and ended with a competitive three-set victory by Yamada against Camila Tumosa; 4-6, 7-5, 10-8.
"It hurts to lose this match. We were really close, missing the doubles point at the last," Lev Ari said. "However, I feel that everyone fought really hard today, leaving everything on the court. I think that is the most important thing, and we'll just have to come stronger next week against Harvard. [We'll] have to make more balls and be tougher in key moments."
Three non-conference matches remain on the Gauchos' schedule prior to the start of Big West conference play.
UCSB will host Harvard on Friday, March 16 at 11 a.m.
LMU vs UC Santa Barbara (Mar 11, 2018)
LMU 4, UC Santa Barbara 3
Mar 11, 2018 at Santa Barbara, Calif. (UC Santa Barbara)
1. #30 V. Miroshnichenko (LMU) def. Palina Dubavets (UCSB) 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
2. Eva Marie Voracek (LMU) def. Natalie Da Silveria (UCSB) 6-2, 7-5
3. Amanda Atanasson (UCSB) def. Siobhan Anderson (LMU) 6-2, 3-6, 6-2
4. Amit Lev Ari (UCSB) def. Yesica De Lucas (LMU) 6-2, 6-2
5. Elvira Juravliova (LMU) def. Lise Sentenac (UCSB) 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) def. Camila Tumosa (LMU) 4-6, 7-5, 10-8
1. #33 V. Miroshnichenko/Eva Marie Voracek (LMU) def. #39 Palina Dubavets/Natalie Da Silveria (UCSB) 7-6 (8-6)
2. Amit Lev Ari/Amanda Atanasson (UCSB) def. Siobhan Anderson/Elvira Juravliova (LMU) 6-4
3. Yesica De Lucas/Sofiya Gaisina (LMU) def. Stephanie Yamada/Lise Sentenac (UCSB) 6-4
UC Santa Barbara 6-9
Order of finish: Doubles (12,3); Singles (1,4,2,3,5,6)