Santa Barbara, Calif. – Friday marked a return to Big West Conference play for the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team, who had not faced a conference foe since hosting both UC Davis and UC Riverside on Feb. 24.
The Gauchos managed to piece together wins in its past conference home opener, but UCSB was unable to replicate such results on Friday following a 4-2 loss to Hawaii. The defeat handed Santa Barbara its fifth consecutive loss, dropping it to 6-12 overall and 2-1 in the Big West standings.
Hawaii won its second-straight match, and is now 8-6, 4-2 in conference play.
It was a back-and-forth battle during doubles play, with the Rainbow Wahine striking first. Going head-to-head on court No. 2 was UCSB's pair of senior Amanda Atanasson and sophomore Amit Lev Ari against Petra Melounova and Roxanne Resma. Hawaii's combo made quick work of doubles match, winning 6-2.
But UCSB didn't fade away lightly, as the senior tandem of Palina Dubavets and Natalie Da Silveira sparked the Gauchos' comeback within doubles play. The two gained a 6-1 victory over Hawaii's duo of Klara Pribylova and Nikola Dolakova.
With the momentum at an equal level for both sides following wins by each, the pursuit to win the final doubles match intensified.
An intense ending surely took place as an extra set was needed to settle the matchup between UCSB's pair of junior Stephanie Yamada and freshman Lise Sentenac vs. Hawaii's Marina Hruba and Alzbeta Houbova. Hruba and Houbova finished when it was most needed, surpassing Yamada and Sentenac with a 7-6(5). The win clinched the doubles point for Hawaii, earning the Rianbow Wahine a 1-0 lead.
Hawaii's Melounova tallied the first win of singles play, defeating Dubavets in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1 to take a 2-0 lead on the day.
In the midst of what looked like another potential shutout loss for the Gauchos, UCSB didn't fold but rather stood its ground.
UC Santa Barbara did so with two-straight wins, the first coming from Da Silveira, who notched a 6-2, 6-2 win against Dolakova. Atanasson added the second victory, overcoming Hawaii's Hruba by a final score of 6-4, 6-2; tying the match at 2-2.
The remaining three matches on the day each went into a third set as both sides vied for the victory. Although the Gauchos managed to come back and tie things up, they could not fend off the Rianbow Wahine from closing out the match.
Pribylova secured Hawaii's second to last victory, beating Lev Ari 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 to take a 3-2 lead. Earning the match point for the Rainbow Wahine was Resma, who defeated Sentenac 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 to secure a 4-2 match win for Hawaii.
"I'm proud of the way the team fought today, even though it didn't go our way," Da Silveira said. "In the end, it was just a couple details that caused this loss, but I know the team will bounce back and get ready for tomorrow's match."
UC Santa Barbara last lost to Hawaii on March 30, 2017. The defeat occurred last season, in which UCSB followed up the loss with 10-straight wins.
UCSB will play in its second to last home match of the season this Saturday, March 31 at 11 a.m. when it host Long Beach State.
Mar 30, 2018 at Santa Barbara, Calif
(Rec Cen Courts)
1. Petra Melounova (UH) def. Palina Dubavets (UCSB) 6-1, 6-1
2. Natalie Da Silveira (UCSB) def. Nikola Dolakova (UH) 6-2, 6-2
3. Amanda Atanasson (UCSB) def. Marina Hruba (UH) 6-4, 6-2
4. Klara Pribylova (UH) def. Amit Lev Ari (UCSB) 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5
5. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) vs. Michelle Pits (UH) 7-5, 5-7, 1-4, unfinished
6. Roxanne Resma (UH) def. Lise Sentenac (UCSB) 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-2
1. Palina Dubavets/Natalie Da Silveira (UCSB) def. Klara Pribylova/Nikola Dolakova (UH) 6-2
2. Petra Melounova/Roxanne Resma (UH) def. Amit Lev Ari/Amanda Atanasson (UCSB) 6-2
3. Marina Hruba/Alzbeta Houbova (UH) def. Stephanie Yamada/Lise Sentenac (UCSB) 7-6 (7-5)
Hawaii 8-6, 4-2 Big West
UC Santa Barbara 6-12, 2-1 Big West
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (1,2,3,4,6)