Gauchos Wrap Up Regular Season at Cal Poly with Sights on No. 1 Seed
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Gauchos (8-12, 3-0) will close out the regular season against Cal Poly (8-12, 3-1) in a continuation of the Blue-Green Rivalry series on Saturday in a match with big playoff implications. With a win against their rivals, UCSB can clinch the No. 1 seed and secure a bye into the semifinals to begin their title defense at the upcoming Big West tournament.
The Gauchos are undefeated in conference play after victories against UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and most recently UC Davis. In their match against the Aggies, the Gauchos used their much-improved doubles play to sweep the doubles competition and rattled off three straight singles wins to clinch the victory at 4-0 and eventually take the match 5-2.
UCSB doubles is led by the junior duo of Tobias Galskov and Ziad Sultan, who have put together a 7-2 record since being paired together at the No. 1 position. The Gaucho pairing of Teague Hamilton and Andrew Riminton has provided a stable presence at No. 3 doubles with a team-leading 10 dual wins.
In singles, the Gauchos are led by junior Tobias Galskov at No. 1 singles with a 14-6 dual record and freshman Teague Hamilton, who has come on strong at the end of the season, winning nine of his last 10 matches in the No. 5 slot.
The Gauchos are currently tied with Hawaii (6-10, 3-0) at the top of the Big West standings, with Cal Poly closely trailing as the third seed. UCSB can clinch the Big West regular-season title with a victory against the Mustangs and a Hawaii loss at UC Irvine. If both UCSB and Hawaii win, the Gauchos and Rainbow Warriors will be co-champions with UCSB taking the No. 1 seed based on the tiebreaker (record against common non-conference teams).
Since the match between UCSB and Hawaii was rained out, the winner of the UCSB-Cal Poly match on Saturday automatically earns a bye into the second round of the Big West tournament, which is set to run from April 24-27th.
The Mustangs recently snapped a four-match losing streak with a win against Big West foe UC Davis in a 4-3 decision. Cal Poly won in the doubles competition and split their singles matches in the triumph.
Cal Poly is led by reigning Big West Athlete of the Week Ben Donovan, with a 10-6 record playing primarily at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Donovan is followed by Marco Comuzzo at No. 2 singles, with an 8-11 overall record and Jurgen De Jager, who has won a team-best 13 dual victories, including nine of his last ten matches.
"They're always a handful for us and we haven't beaten them up there in a long time," said Head Coach Marty Davis.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Gauchos were on the losing end of a tight 4-3 decision at home and will look to return the favor on the Mustangs' Senior Day.
"It'll be a raucous crowd and it'll be the most difficult environment we'll play in terms of hostile atmosphere," stated Davis. "It can actually be fun if you have the right mindset."
The two teams will face off on Saturday, April 19th at 1 PM in San Luis Obispo, Calif.