SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After a rain-filled weekend trip to the Hawaiian Islands, UC Santa Barbara's men's tennis team (2-4, 0-0 Big West) will return to the mainland to take on No. 2- ranked USC (7-1, 0-0 Pac-12) in Los Angeles on Friday and host Fresno State (3-6, 0-1 MW) at the Rec Cen Courts on Sunday.
In their latest match, the Gauchos dropped a tough decision at Hawai'i Pacific 6-1, with a victory by #108 Tobias Galskov saving the Gauchos from a sweep. UCSB's first conference match at Hawai'i was rained out on Sunday and has yet to be rescheduled.
UCSB will travel to No. 2 USC on Friday in what is likely to be their toughest test of the season. The nationally-ranked Trojans recently wrapped up a trip to the finals of the ITA National Indoor Championships, after upsetting then-No. 2 ranked UCLA 4-3 in the semifinals. USC finished runner-up to Ohio State University, who upset the Trojans to hand them their first loss of the season. USC still moved up in the ITA national rankings (released Feb. 18) and now occupy the No. 2 spot.
The Pac-12 powerhouse is led by three nationally-ranked players, including #7 Ray Sarmiento, #16 Yannick Hanfmann, and #47 Jonny Wang. In doubles, the Trojans have #35-ranked pair Hanfmann/Sarmiento.
The Trojans are taking on the Gauchos in the second half of a doubleheader on Friday and will begin play at 3:00 p.m. at Marks Stadium in Los Angeles.
On Sunday, UCSB will return home to face Fresno State. The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-1 triumph over Pacific after suffering four straight losses. Fresno State claimed the doubles point and won all but one of their singles matches in the victory.
The Bulldogs are led in dual match wins by Sam MacNeil and Sai Kartik Nakireddi, who play primarily at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively.
First serve against the Bulldogs is set for 1:00 p.m. at the Rec Cen Courts.