Gauchos Will Open Conference Play on Friday Against UC Davis

Feb. 25, 2010

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara women's tennis team will now open its Big West schedule on Friday, instead of Saturday. The match against UC Davis that was originally scheduled for Saturday, February 27th, has been moved to Friday, February 26th at 1:30 p.m. because of forecasted rain. Additionally, the match against Fresno Pacific, which was rescheduled for the 26th, will now be played on Sunday the 28th, at 1:00 p.m. Both matches will be played at home.

With Friday's match against UC Davis, UCSB will open its conference schedule against Big West opponents. The Gauchos know just how important it is to start strong in this conference.

"There are no easy matches in the Big West," said head coach Pete Kirkwood. "This is a big match for us."

After shuffling their lineup in recent matches, the Gauchos will try a couple different looks this weekend. On Friday, Natalia Lozano will play from the No. 1 position for the second time this season, with Sofia Novak, Jordan Dockendorf, Annabel Gledden, Tova Hausman, and Bryanna Ojeda filling the spots behind her. Novak will start conference play as the 93rd ranked singles player in the country.

The Gauchos will offer a slightly different lineup on Sunday. With the first four spots in the lineup remaining the same, the No. 5 spot will go to Asagi Onaga, and Jill Damion, who will make her season debut coming off shoulder surgery, will play from the No. 6 position. Damion may also compete for a doubles spot as the team moves forward.

"Jill is someone that can really contribute for us," Kirkwood said. "We'll see how she handles playing both singles and doubles. We'll find out how her shoulder holds up."

Coach Kirkwood added that the lineup will continue to change throughout the season. "We don't have a set lineup at this point. We'll try some things out and go with what's working."

After this weekend's matches, the Gauchos will play again on March 5th, when they travel up the coast to take on rival Cal Poly.