UCSB Opens 2009 Campaign Sunday at Home Against Cal State Bakersfield

Jan. 23, 2009

This Week
Sunday, January 25, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners
At UCSB's Robertson Gymnasium Tennis Courts

UCSB Opens Against Cal State Bakersfield Sunday
The UCSB women's tennis team will open its 2009 dual match schedule on Sunday, Jan. 25 when it hosts - weather permitting - Cal State Bakersfield at the Robertson Gym courts at 2:00 p.m. The match against the Roadrunners will be the first of 21 scheduled dual matches this season and the first of 14 slated at home.

The Gaucho Record
UCSB finished the 2008 season with an overall record of 10-14 and a Big West mark of 4-4. The Gauchos defeated Cal Poly in the first round of the 2008 Big West Tournament and ultimately finished tied for third.

Kirkwood Enters 15th Season
Pete Kirkwood is entering his 15th season at the helm of the UCSB women's tennis program. He has guided the program to 162 dual match victories over the years. In addition, the Cal State Bakersfield graduate led the program to Big West titles in 1995, when he was the interim coach, and 1996.

Damion Leads Solid Group Of Returnees
Sophomore Jill Damion will lead a solid group of returnees for the Gauchos. In 2008, Damion played at No. 2 in the lineup, posting a 9-13 record in dual matches and a 12-14 mark overall. Following the season, the Newport Beach, Calif., native was named Second Team All-Big West. This year, she is expected to take-on the No. 1 spot in the lineup. Junior Tova Hausman, who played primarily at No. 4 and No. 5 in 2008, will likely make the leap to No. 2 in 2008. Last year she had a 14-7 mark in dual matches. Junior Asagi Onaga, who had a 10-12 record in dual matches while playing mostly at No. 4, will once again play four or five for UCSB.

Michigan State Transfer Expected To Have Impact
Sophomore Michelle Murphy, a native of Irvine, Calif., but a transfer from Michigan State could have the greatest impact of any UCSB newcomer. As a freshman, Murphy had an 11-8 overall record for the Spartans. She was also 5-7 in doubles. As a Gaucho, it is anticipated that she will play at No. 3. Her experience in the Big 10 should be a major asset.

Rounding Out The Lineup
A pair of freshmen are expected to compete for the No. 5 and No. 6 spots in the UCSB singles lineup. Natalia Lozano, a native of Valladolid, Spain, could enter the year at No. 4 or No. 5. Lozano was ranked among the top-20 junior players in Spain and climbed as high as 59th in the senior rankings. Competing for time at the No. 6 spot in the lineup will be Sofia Novak, a first-year Gaucho out of Glendora High School. She was a two-time Sierra League champion and a three-time MVP. Novak was also ranked in the top-25 in Southern California in under-18s. Junior Bryanna Ojeda will push the two freshmen for playing time. In 2008, Ojeda posted an overall record of 3-3, although she competed just once in dual matches. Another possibility is sophomore Chelsea Mosser who, according to Kirkwood, had an outstanding fall season. Mosser was 1-2 overall in 2008, although she did not play in a dual match.

Doubling Down
The No. 1 doubles spot should be claimed by one of two teams, either Damion/Lozano or Murphy/Hausman. Both squads had impressive fall seasons and they will both play at either No. 1 or No. 2 doubles. The No. 3 slot is expected to be filled by Novak, for one, and either Ojeda or Onaga.

2009 Schedule: Heavy On The Home Cooking
UCSB's 2008 dual match schedule is heavy on the home matches. After playing the opener at home against Cal State Bakersfield, the Gauchos will go on the road for Big West contests at UC Davis and Pacific. After the road trip north, they will play six straight home matches and 13 out of 16. The only road matches during that period will be at the Big West trio of Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State, and Pacific. The home schedule will be highlighted by contests against Cal Poly (Feb. 16), Hawaii (Feb. 17), UC Irvine (Feb. 22), and Cal State Fullerton (Mar. 15). All home matches are played at UCSB's Robertson Gymnasium Courts.