Santa Barbara, Calif. – Despite failing to make its third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance as a team, the UC Santa Barbara women's tennis program will still have its presence felt.
Representing the Gauchos in the tournament's doubles bracket is the senior duo of Palina Dubavets and Natalie Da Silveira. The No. 41 ITA Doubles ranked combo is set for a match against Clemson's No. 21 ranked Marie-Alexandre and Fernanda Navarro.
Prior to losing to Hawaii in the Big West Tournament semifinals, UCSB had won six consecutive matches. In spite of the loss, the tandem of Dubavets and Da Silveira was most consistent for Santa Barbara during its winning stretch.
Although the loss put an end to UCSB's postseason run, Dubavets and Da Silveira will enter this week's Round of 32 matchup on a current eight-match win streak after tallying a 6-1 win over Hawaii's Petra Melounova and Roxanne Resma.
Whether or not Dubavets and Da Silveira manage to maintain such momentum will be key after having not played since the Hawaii match on April 28.
"We have practiced a lot together for the past few eeks, so I don't feel like it has been that long ago since we played an official match," Dubavets explained. "It's going to be a great experience facing Clemson tomorrow. It definitely feels special because any day now could be the last match of our collegiate tennis careers."
Overall, the Dubavets-Da Silveira duo owns an 18-7 record and is 15-6 in dual matches. Their matchup against the Clemson tandem will surely be competitive, considering that Leduc and Navarro are 19-9 overall and 11-6 in dual matches.
UCSB's pair will hope to pull off a first round upset given its 0-3 record against nationally ranked doubles opponents.
"We are going to play our hardest no matter who is on the other side," Da Silveira said. "It's really exciting to be here and compete against some of the best teams in the nation, so all we can do is give it our best and fight our hardest. It definitely makes it special that this will be our last time officially representing UCSB. That really just makes all of this more exciting."
Dubavets and Da Silveira play the Clemson duo this Thursday, May 24 at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. ET in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 32. The bracket will go from May 24-28, with a new round being played each day.