Gauchos Drop 3rd Straight, Shutout at Home by No. 7 Illinois

Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

Santa Barbara, Calif. – The UCSB women's tennis team lost its third consecutive match Friday afternoon following being shutout 4-0 by No. 7 Illinois.

UCSB is now 6-10 on the season, and remains winless against nationally ranked opponents with a 0-6 record. Meanwhile, Illinois won its fourth-straight match to improve to 14-2 overall.  

"We [managed] to stay in today's math against a strong team. It was a good performance overall, especially] right after final exams," Head Coach Simon Thibodeau said. "We needed a little more focus and more consistency with our working tactics. Now we can only focus on being ready for the first point against Stanford [in our next match]."

The start to doubles play began with UCSB falling behind early and facing the challenge of playing catch up.

UC Santa Barbara endured its first loss on court No. 2, in which senior Amanada Atanasson and sophomore Amit Lev Ari were defeated by Illinois' Jaclyn Switkes and Emilee Duong, 6-2.

Santa Barbara's senior tandem of Palina Dubavets and Natalie Da Silveira, who ranks No. 45 in the ITA Doubles rankings, went head-to-head against Daniela Pedraza Novak and Alexandra "Sasha" Belaya. The Illinois pair is ranked No. 60 within the ITA standings, and will likely improve their ranking following their 6-4 victory over Dubavets and Da Silveira.

Novak and Belaya's win on court No. 1 captured the doubles point for Illinois, giving the Illni a 1-0 lead heading into singles play.

Although singles play would be a chance for the Gauchos to bounce back, the momentum had already shifted in favor of the Illni.

UC Santa Barbara's deficit grew as Dubavets went head-to-head versus Switkes, and ultimately fell short 6-1, 7-6(2), which increased Illinois' lead to 2-0.

Taking place on court three, Atanasson faced Novak. The match didn't last too long as Novak made quick work of the matchup, defeating Atanasson in back-to-back sets 6-2, 6-3.

Down 3-0, UCSB didn't have much time remaining to keep its comeback hopes alive. Santa Barbara's opportunity to extend the match eventually came to an end when Lev Ari was defeated by Mia Rabinowitz, clinching the 4-0 match victory for Illinois.

Saturday's match against Illinois was the Gauchos second to last non-conference match. It final non-conference match will take place on the road at Stanford on March 28 at 1:30 p.m.