Gauchos Fall to USC for First Home Loss

Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team dropped a 5-2 grudge match against USC to fall for its first time at home this season.

The Gauchos move to 3-2 following the loss while USC gets back on track and improves to 4-1.

Santa Barbara has started strong in each of its five matches this season, and once again, Gaucho doubles looked promising against the Trojans.

On court three, freshman Tiffany Lagarde teamed up with sophomore Lise Sentenac to take out SC's freshman Salma Ewing and junior Becca Weissmann with a 6-3 win to open the day for SB.

The Trojans pounced back with a win from court one as national No. 18 pair comprised of junior Angela Kulikov and senior Rianna Valdes handled sophomore Elizaveta Volodko and senior Stephanie Yamada with a 6-3 victory of their own.

For the clincher, freshman Anastasia Goncharova and junior Juliana Valero conquered with a 6-3 triumph against junior Constance Branstine and freshman Estella Jaeger to secure the doubles point for UC Santa Barbara.

The Gauchos have opened up each of their five matches with point wins in doubles, and Goncharova-Valero improve to 4-0 in doubles play following their victory on court two.

While doubles belonged to the Gauchos, singles play was all Trojans.

Kulikov opened up singles to hand Tiffany Lagarde just her second loss of the season with a 7-5, 6-0 win on court two.

Sophomore Ana Neffa followed suit on court five to take down Goncharova with a 6-4, 6-1 win to take the lead for USC.

The Trojans kicked it into drive when No. 86 freshman Danielle Willson stole a three-set win from Valero on court six with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 result, and Weissmann delivered the clincher with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Yamada on court four.

From court one, Volodko put up a thrilling fight against No. 24 Salma Ewing, but dropped a tight one 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-4.

The only singles win of the day for the Gauchos came in the three spot as junior Amit Lev Ari powered through Rianna Valdes with a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 triumph.

The UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team returns to action on Friday, February 22 to host the 6-1 University of Washington Huskies who are coming off of a 4-3 upset win over No. 14 NC State. First serve is slated for 1:30 p.m.

Match Results:

University of Southern California 5, UC Santa Barbara 2

Singles Results:

1. Salma Ewing (USC) def. Elizaveta Volodko (UCSB) 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-4

2. Angela Kulikov (USC) def. Tiffany Lagarde (UCSB) 7-5, 6-0

3. Amit Lev Ari (UCSB) def. Rianna Valdes (USC) 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4

4. Becca Weissmann (USC) def. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) 6-4, 7-5

5. Ana Neffa (USC) def. Anastasia Goncharova (UCSB) 6-4, 6-1

6. Danielle Willson (USC) def. Juliana Valero (UCSB) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

Doubles Results:

1. Rianna Valdes/Angela Kulikov (USC) def. Elizaveta Volodko/Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) 6-3

2. Anastasia Goncharova/Juliana Valero (UCSB) def. Constance Branstine/Estella Jaeger (USC) 6-3

3. Tiffany Lagarde/Lise Sentenac (UCSB) def. Salma Ewing/Becca Weissmann (USC) 6-3

Match Notes

USC 4-1, UCSB 3-2

Order of finish: Doubles (3, 1, 2) Singles ( 2, 5, 6, 4, 1, 3)