WTen: Gauchos topple Gonzaga

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (8-6) took down the Gonzaga Bulldogs (9-2) 5-2 on Saturday in a match that was closer than the score indicates as the last three matches were decided in the third set.

Gonzaga was coming into Santa Barbara off of a 5-2 win over No. 55 UC Irvine just two days ago. However, the Gauchos were prepared to protect their home court, a place where they were 5-2 before this match.

Before starting the match, head coach Simon Thibodeau and assistant coach Erica Cano spoke to the team about their energy level, and how their success would stem from high energy after playing just the day before. That energy proved to be important for the Gauchos late in the match.

The Gauchos were able to continue their recent success in doubles despite a loss at the number one position by April Scatliffe and Natalie Da Silveira. Melissa Baker teamed up with Luisa Ortiz Candido to get the 6-4 win at the number two spot, while Jaimee Gilbertson and Stacy Yam also got a win at the number three spot by a score of 7-5 to clinch the doubles point for the Gauchos.

The singles for the day were extremely dramatic, as at one point it looked like Gonzaga was going to be able to steal the win from the Gauchos.

Gilbertson got things started for the Gauchos, defeating Katie Edwards 6-1, 6-4.

Next off was Priscila Garcia, who wasn’t able to find her groove and was defeated by Franziska Koehler 6-4, 6-2.

April Scatliffe, despite a valiant effort in the first set, was unable to come away with the win, falling to Alex Bourguignoh 7-6(4) 6-0.

The score was 2-2 with three matches left.

Natalie Da Silveira had taken the first set, and in the middle of the second set, appeared to have tweaked something in her back. She ended up dropping that second set and fell behind quickly 5-2. However, Da Silveira kept her energy up, and with her team rallying behind her, was able to get a double break and win five straight games to defeat Samantha Polayes 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.

“When I was down in the third set, I stopped thinking about the set score and just told myself to focus on the points and making mini goals,” Da Silveira said of her comeback. Not only was she able to get the win for her team, but her father was also visting from Brazil and came to watch his daughter play.

“It was really nice to have my dad come all the way from Brazil to support me,” she said. “The fact that I came back in the match and won literally fighting my guts out was really awesome for my dad to experience.

With the score at 3-2 in favor of the Gauchos, all eyes were on courts three and five.

Stacy Yam had battled, losing the first set and winning the second, and was up 5-3 with match point, but was unable to convert. Her opponent, was beginning to gain momentum, but Yam shut her down, defeating Melanie Yates 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, and clinching the match for the Gauchos.

At the clinching point, Melissa Baker was up 5-2 in her set, but Gonzaga’s head coach defaulted the match to Baker to avoid injuring their player.

This weekend saw the Gauchos beat two hot teams; the undefeated CSUN Matadors and the nearly perfect Gonzaga Bulldogs.

“It’s great for our confidence for sure,” Cano said. “It’s great to go into finals week with some confidence.”

UCSB has ten days off until their next match on Mar 24 against Illinois at 11AM where they will look to improve upon their 6-2 home record at the Rec Center Courts.