Conference Clashes To Dictate Regular Season Races
Big West Tennis Release No. 13
The beginning of April signals a flurry of men's and women's conference tennis matches that will impact the regular season races. Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara match up on the women's side, while the UC Davis and UCSB men duel in this week's featured contests.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Race To The Title Heats Up
Eight women’s matches are on this week’s schedule, and six of them involve Big West schools going head-to-head.
Hawai‘i is in the driver’s seat as far as positioning for its first Big West regular season title. The Rainbow Wahine are 6-0 in league play, with two more opponents to go – at UC Irvine (Apr. 11) and at Cal State Fullerton (Apr. 23). UH has only one match this week, a non-conference battle at UNLV on Saturday.
Three schools are in pursuit. Cal State Fullerton is the only school with the ability to tie Hawai‘i for the regular season crown should the Rainbow Wahine defeat UCI. However, the Titans must win three straight conference matches to get to that scenario. CSF faces a tough Central Coast road swing this weekend against UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly, and at CSUN next week.
UCSB, at 2-1, is tied for the fewest conference matches played, and finishes the regular season with five straight against Big West foes. The Gauchos host CSF and UCI this week, followed by road tilts against UC Riverside and Long Beach State next week.
LBSU needs help from UH to either tie or overtake for the title. The Beach is 4-1 in league play, and play at UC Davis on Saturday. They finish at home against Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. They can win out, but need UH to lose once to tie for the title or twice to win the championship outright.
Crucial Men’s Match Featured This Week
UC Davis positioned itself beautifully for a shot at the men’s regular season crown with a 4-3 upset of nationally ranked Cal Poly last week at the Marya Welch Tennis Center. The Aggies halted an eight-match Mustang win streak in the process. Now, the stakes get even higher when UC Davis hosts UC Santa Barbara on Saturday. The Gauchos, which reentered the ITA team rankings at No. 49 this week, have won five straight and are 1-0 in league play. Both squads have played a multitude of thrillers this year – the Aggies have been in nine matches (out of 17) that have gone the distance, while the Gauchos have played in seven of 17 contests decided by a 4-3 score.
In The Rankings
In addition to the Cal Poly and UCSB men’s team rankings, Big West individuals are ranked in singles and doubles by the ITA. Cal Poly teammates Ben Donovan and Corey Pang are ranked No. 106 and No. 109 in singles, respectively. On the women’s side, Hawai‘i freshman Petra Melounova reentered the singles poll at No. 78, while UC Santa Barbara’s Jaimee Gilbertson is No. 117. In doubles, the UC Santa Barbara men’s pairing of Simon Freund and Morgan Mays sits at No. 19, while Pang and Donovan are ranked No. 49. In women’s doubles, UCSB boasts three ranked teams – Palina Dubavets and Melissa Baker (No. 46), Dubavets and Stefani Stojic (No. 48), and Melissa Baker and Stephanie Yamada (No. 66).