Gauchos Fall to No. 55 Princeton, 6-1

Benjamin Recknagel (Photo by Tony Mastres)

PRINCETON, N.J. – Men's tennis had a difficult day at the courts against the No. 55 Princeton Tigers, dropping their showdown 6-1.

After their tense win over St. John's on Saturday afternoon, the Gauchos couldn't keep the momentum going in the conclusion of their two-game road trip, losing the doubles point and five of their six singles matches.

The lone win for UCSB came at court 4, where the hero of Saturday's game, sophomore Ziad Sultan, won in comeback fashion against Augie Bloom. Sultan dropped the first set 2-6 before taking the next two sets 6-3, 6-3 and helping UCSB to avoid the sweep.

"Ziad ended up having a pretty good weekend," said Coach Marty Davis, who added that he was pleased with sophomore Axel Bouillin's performance in Sunday's match as well.  

Axel Bouillin showed resilience in his singles match at court 3, where he lost the first set to Matt Spindler 6-4 but bounced back to win the second set 4-6. Their match came down to the tie-breaker which Spindler won 10-8.

UCSB struggled in doubles against the formidable Ivy League team. At court 1, Ndimande and Sultan dropped their doubles match 8-3 to the No. 29th ranked duo in the country, Pecotic and McCourt. Bouillin and Gryaznov lost 8-4 at court 2 and play was suspended at court 3 after Princeton clinched the doubles point.

Despite losing the doubles point, Coach Marty Davis said he thought his team "played pretty well in doubles" and added that the Gauchos' "doubles play is getting better" as the season progresses. 

In singles play, senior Mbonisi Ndimande remained in the No. 1 position to face the 6th-ranked player in the country Matija Pecotic, dropping the decision 6-3, 6-1. Benjamin Recknagel, Sasha Gryaznov, and Andrew Riminton were also defeated in straight sets. With the loss, the Gauchos' season record falls to 3-4 in dual match play.

UCSB will return home for a busy week of tennis at the Rec Cen courts beginning with back-to-back games on Friday, March 8 against Boston College and Saturday, March 9 against #48 San Diego State. Friday's match is set to begin at 2:00 PM (PST).

#55 Princeton 6, UCSB 1

DOUBLES

1. #29 Pecotic/McCourt (P) def. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) 8-3
2. Spindler/Davies (P) def. Bouillin/Gryaznov (UCSB) 8-4
3. Siow/Bloom (P) vs. Riminton/Seemann (UCSB) 6-4, DNF

SINGLES

1. #6 Matija Pecotic (P) def. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) 6-3, 6-1
2. Zack McCourt (P) def. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) 6-4, 6-4
3. Matt Spindler (P) def. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) 6-4, 4-6, (10-8)
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Augie Bloom (P) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
5. Matt Siow (P) def. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) 6-4, 6-0
6. Dan Richardson (P) def. Andrew Riminton (UCSB) 6-3, 6-3

Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2); Singles (6, 1, 5, 2, 3, 4)
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 3-4; Big West 0-0