UCSB Loses in 4-3 Heartbreaker to Air Force

Benjamin Recknagel (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Benjamin Recknagel (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Gauchos suffered yet another 4-3 loss on their four game road trip, this time at the hands of the U.S. Air Force Academy at the Lifetime Fitness Center in Colorado Springs. UCSB fell just short in doubles and split the singles matches to conclude their 1-3 road trip, dropping their record to 2-7 on the road and 7-8 on the overall season.

The Gauchos were narrowly defeated in doubles for the second match in a row. Air Force duo Grubbs/McCullers was first off the court with a win at the No. 2 position over Benjamin Recknagel/Axel Bouillin, 8-6. The Gauchos bounced back and won at court 3, where Miles Seemann/Andrew Riminton defeated Parks/Young 8-6. The doubles point came down to the tie-breaker at court 1 between the Gauchos' Mbonisi Ndimande/Ziad Sultan and Wilhelm/Taylor of the Air Force. After rallying from a 5-2 deficit and saving two match points, the Air Force came out on top 9-8 (10) to claim the doubles point and the 1-0 lead.

Air Force jumped out to a 2-0 lead after Andrew Parks defeated Sasha Gryaznov, 6-2, 6-2 at court 5. UCSB battled back and won at courts 2, 3, and 4. At court 3, sophomore Axel Bouillin continued his perfect 4-0 road trip in singles play with a victory over Alex Grubbs 6-4, 6-3. Ziad Sultan was next off the court, defeating Grant Taylor 7-6 (4), 6-4 at the No. 4 position. Senior Benjamin Recknagel made the score 3-2 in the Gauchos' favor, winning 6-4, 7-6 (4) at court 2.

At court 6, Air Force's Jack McCullers posted a comeback win against Miles Seemann, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 to tie the match. With the score knotted up at 3, the match came down to court 1 where UCSB's Mbonisi Ndimande faced the No. 75-ranked Lance Wilhelm. Wilhelm rallied from a set down, defeating Ndimande 6-7 (7), 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Air Force.

The Gauchos will return home to begin Big West play, hosting UC Riverside and UC Irvine at the Rec Cen Courts in back-to-back games, next Saturday and Sunday. Action is set to begin against UC Riverside on Saturday, April 6 at 1:00 PM (PDT).

Air Force 4, UC Santa Barbara 3


1. Wilhelm/Taylor (AF) def. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB), 9-8(10)
2. Grubbs/McCullers (AF) def. Recknagel/Bouillin (UCSB), 8-6
3. Seemann/Riminton (UCSB) def. Parks/Young (AF), 8-6


1. #75 Lance Wilhelm (AF) def. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB), 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-3
2. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) def. Steven Young (AF), 6-4, 7-6(4)
3. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) def. Alex Grubbs (AF), 6-4, 6-3
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Grant Taylor (AF), 7-6(4), 6-4
5. Andrew Parks (AF) def. Alexander Gryaznov (UCSB), 6-2, 6-2
6. Jack McCullers (AF) def. Miles Seemann (UCSB), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3

Order of finish: Doubles (2, 3, 1); Singles (5, 3, 4, 2, 6, 1)
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 7-8; Big West 0-0