A month and a half since their first Big West match, UCSB women’s tennis was back in conference action and back in the win column on Saturday, snapping a 10-match skid with a 6-1 win over UC San Diego. Freshman walk-on Solaya Han saw her first Division-I action for the Gauchos, playing on court three in doubles and court six in singles.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Solaya Han’s Gaucho debut got off to a rough start with a loss on court three in doubles, but her teammates picked her up, with Camille Kiss and Marta Gonzalez Ballbe winning on court two to level the scores. Amelia Honer and Kira Reuter, ranked the No. 21 doubles team in the country, picked up yet another win together on court one to take the doubles point for UCSB.
As singles got underway, Han gave the Gauchos a boost just by stepping on the court. For the first time this season, UCSB did not have to forfeit a single court, meaning they could actually play with a lead. And Reuter quickly doubled that lead, blazing past her opponent on court three in straight sets. Her doubles partner Honer finished next, taking yet another win on court one to put the Gauchos one win away from their first match victory since January.
On court six, Han was doing her best to grab that clinching win in her first Division-I tennis action, but fell despite her efforts. Kiss and Valentina Khrebtova would go on to secure the victory for UCSB, wrapping up wins on courts two and four at nearly the same time. That left all eyes on court five, where Gonzalez Ballbe looked to be headed for a third set. Down 2-5 in the second after winning the first, the senior from Madrid won five straight games to earn a win and wrap up the Gauchos’ victory.
The Gauchos have two weeks off before their next match, which will see them begin a five-match road trip by traveling to Hawai’i on March 26. UCSB will play at Hawai’i, then UCLA, San Diego, UC Riverside, and Long Beach State before returning to Arnhold Tennis Center. The Gauchos’ next home match is set for April 15 against UC Irvine.
Eric Boose is assistant director of athletic communications at UCSB.