WTen: UCSB falls to Long Beach in Big West final

INDIAN WELLS — The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (16-9) fell to Long Beach State (18-5) in the championship match of the Big West Tournament.

The Gauchos were unable to capture the doubles point to start out the morning Melissa Baker and Luisa Ortiz Candido fell to Ebba Unden and Hayley Thompson 8-2 on the top court, and Natalie Da Silveira and Priscila Garcia fell to Karolina Rozenberg and Laura Eales 8-4.

On the singles side, the Gauchos were unable to climb back into the match. Candido was first off, falling to Eales 6-2, 6-3. The 49ers extended their lead to 3-0 when Maeva Razakasoa defeated Natalie Da Silveira on the first court by a score of 6-1, 6-1.

Stacy Yam gave the Gauchos some life when she was able to get the 6-0, 6-4 win over Rozenberg at the number five spot. However, Long Beach State was able to shut the door as Thompson took down April Scatliffe on court four by a score of 6-0, 7-5.

Long Beach State has now won 5 straight Big West titles, including 11 in the past 12 years. The last time UCSB reached the finals was in 1999, and the last time the Gauchos brought home the trophy was back in 1996.

“I’m very proud of our team,” head coach Simon Thibodeau said. “We’ve fought through more adversity than I’ve seen in my college coaching career. We were able to finish at 16-9, reach the Big West final for the first time in 16 years, and will most likely be ranked as one of the top 50 teams in the nation.”

“Even though we weren’t able to win the championship, we took huge steps forward this season,” Thibodeau said.