Gauchos Dethrone Titans to Overtake First Place

Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Felipe Garcia)
Amit Lev Ari (Photo by Felipe Garcia)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- To takeover the top spot in the Big West standings, the UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis team took the crown from Cal State Fullerton with a 5-2 triumph.

Amit Lev Ari continues to shine for UCSB after a perfect weekend against UC Irvine and Fullerton as the junior led the Gauchos to consecutive wins en route to overtaking the first place spot.

"Amit has embraced a leadership role on this roster, and we feed off of her energy," said Head Coach Simon Thibodeau. "We're confident with her at the top of our lineup because she gives us a chance in every match. With the tournament around the corner, she's getting comfortable at the right time."

With the win, UC Santa Barbara improves to 11-7 overall and 5-1 in Big West matches. With two matches left in the season, the Gaucho sit atop the Big West with Fullerton and Long beach tied in the second spot.

Lev Ari and Elizaveta Volodko paired up for the first time the year to quiet Makiba Masako and Caisey Lee Emery with a 6-0 shutdown for the first finish of the day.

Fullerton's Sarah Nuno and Karla Portalatin got the best of Stephanie Yamada and Juliana Valero from court one with a 6-2 final.

To lock down doubles, Tiffany Lagarde and Dominika Paterova weakened Genevieve Zeidan and Jadie Acidera with a 6-3 win to take an early advantage.

Lagarde was unphased by Fullerton's early season success as she dropped Zeidan from singles No. 3 with a 6-4, 6-1 two-set sweep to deal Ziedan her first conference singles loss.

From the two-spot, Nuno held off Volodko with a three-set, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 result which was the first point of the day for CSUF.

To sway momentum back in the Gauchos' favor, Lise Sentenac overcame Acidera to strike down on Acidera's perfect dual match record for the sole single-loss blemish on her 10-1 record.

After being down 2-5 in the first set, Amit Lev Ari battled back with poise in a 7-5, 6-7(5) 6-2 win on court one for the clincher to secure first for UCSB.

Minutes later, Juliana Valero ended Luxizi Meng with a 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 conquer from the fifth court to give UCSB a 5-1 lead.

In the final match of the day, Emery outlasted Yamada with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 decision.

UC Santa Barbara Women's Tennis culminates its regular season next weekend when it travels to CSUN on Friday, April 19, at 1 p.m. before hosting Cal Poly for senior night on Saturday, April 20 at 1:30 p.m. in another episode of the Blue-Green Rivalry.

Tennis Match Results:

Cal State Fullerton vs UC Santa Barbara

Apr 14, 2019 at

UC Santa Barbara 5, Cal State Fullerton 2

Singles competition:

1. Amit Lev-Ari (UCSB) def. Portalatin, Karla (CSF) 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2

2. Nuno, Sarah (CSF) def. Elizaveta Volodko (UCSB) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

3. Tiffany Lagarde (UCSB) def. Zeidan, Genevieve (CSF) 6-4, 6-1

4. Emery, Caisey Lee (CSF) def. Stephanie Yamada (UCSB) 6-3, 3-6, 7-5

5. Juliana Valero (UCSB) def. Meng, Luxizi (CSF) 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3

6. Lise Sentenac (UCSB) def. Acidera, Jadie (CSF) 6-3, 5-7, 6-1

Doubles competition:

1. Nuno, Sarah/Portalatin, Karla (CSF) def. Stephanie Yamada/Juliana Valero (UCSB) 6-2

2. Amit Lev-Ari/Elizaveta Volodko (UCSB) def. Makiba, Masako/Emery, Caisey Lee (CSF) 6-0

3. Tiffany Lagarde/Dominika Paterova (UCSB) def. Zeidan, Genevieve/Acidera, Jadie (CSF) 6-3

Match Notes:

Cal State Fullerton 13-5

UC Santa Barbara 11-7

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