The No. 24 UCSB women’s tennis team erased a 3-0 deficit to beat No. 26 Kansas 4-3 Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Stanford Regional. The win advances the two-time reigning Big West Champion Gauchos (21-6, 9-0) to the second round, where they will take on the winner of the match between No. 15 Stanford and Southeast Missouri State.
The win is Santa Barbara’s twelfth straight, tying a program record set last season. It is also the second NCAA Tournament win in program history, with the other also being a 4-3 first-round victory over Kansas in 2016.
The Jayhawks seized the doubles point with wins on courts three and one. On court three, Malkia Ngounoue and Julia Deming took down Marta Gonzalez Ballbe and Camille Kiss 6-2. KU secured the point when the No. 79 duo of Sonia Smagina and Raphaelle Lacasse defeated Shakhnoza Khatamova and Elizaveta Volodko 6-4 on court one.
Moving onto the singles portion, Kansas extended their lead. On court four, Carmen Rosana Manu snapped Big West Freshman of the Year Amelia Honer’s nine match singles winning streak dating back to Apr. 2 with a 6-3, 7-5 final score.
Smagina gave the Jayhawks a 3-0 chokehold on the match when she finished off Camille Kiss 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 on court three.
The Gauchos, though, kept battling and were engaged in tight matches on all four remaining courts, needing victories in all of them to win the match and advance to the second round.
The graduate student Volodko was the first to put a point on the board for Santa Barbara, earning a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over Ngounoue on court two.
Next, No. 76-ranked Khatamova earned a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 win over No. 52 Titova in the number one singles matchup.
After dropping the first set 1-6, Kira Reuter came back to beat Tiffany Lagarde 7-5 and 6-3 in the final two sets to tie the match at three points apiece.
The match was decided on court five, where freshman Filippa Bruu-Syversen wrapped up a composed 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4 victory to send Santa Barbara through to the second round.
Daniel Messinger writes about sports for UCSB.