SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — UC Santa Barbara, in front of its first home crowd of the new season, enjoyed a successful outing, defeating San Diego State 6-1 behind strong performances from its veterans and newcomers. With the win, the Gauchos are now 3-1 on the year while the Aztecs drop to 0-3 on the season.
"The support from the sideline was terrific and really helped us," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "This team really pushed us and I am glad we got the win and hopefully it helps us going into tomorrow.
The day began with doubles and the No. 44 duo in the country, Anders Holm, and Nicolas Moreno de Alboran dominated their match. The junior pair defeated SDSU's team comprised of senior Santiago Cevallos and sophomore Arnaud Restifo 6-0.
"I felt like the energy was really high and that helped us as a team," Moreno de Alboran said. "The crowd was great, a lot of players from other teams which we appreciated, and fans from Santa Barbara were great and they really helped us have high energy and get a win."
"Beating someone 6-0 is hard in doubles and they just looked great," Davis said. "They looked better than the No. 44 team in the country today."
UCSB then secured the doubles point thanks to the efforts of senior Simon Freund and redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram on court two. At 4-3, deuce point, Rotheram was able to seal the point with a return that appeared to be heading right for his face. His shot just made it over the net, and UCSB was able to ride the 5-3 lead into a 6-4 win and the doubles point.
"We got off to a good start, broke them in their second service game and from there held our serve," Freund said. "Honestly, seeing Nic and Anders take care of business on court one and that helped us a lot."
Just after the doubles match on court one ended it seemed as though SDSU would nod things up as Guillin/Krustev were down 5-1, however, the Gaucho pair rallied to tie it up at 5-5 and the match was called at 6-5 in favor of SDSU.
"Honestly, that was pretty huge for us because our doubles game was pretty close ourselves especially in the last two games," Freund said. "If we had known it was the deciding match obviously that comes with way more pressure and that could be the difference so it's really good they held tough."
Despite the 6-1 score, many of the matches in singles play were very close and extremely entertaining. One of the few matches that were decided early was Guillin's. The transfer won easily in straight sets, 6-0, 6-2, versus the Aztecs sophomore Joel Popov giving the home team the 2-0 advantage. Guillin is now 2-1 on the year.
On court six, SDSU's Rafael Gonzalez-Almazan kept it close with junior Hironori Koyanagi. Fortunately for UCSB, the transfer kept strong and also pulled off a straight-set victory as well by even scores of 6-4, 6-4 to bring the Gauchos within one point of the victory.
Just as Koyanagi won, UCSB was still not in the clear as Holm was en rout to what would be the only loss of UCSB's day against Gjoels-Andersen while Moreno de Alboran pushed his match to a third set at court one. This meant at court two, Freund had the best shot of sending the Aztecs home with the loss.
Freund faced off against Restifo and the two battled in the first set with the senior Gaucho barley coming out the victor, 7-5. The New York native then sealed the win for the Gauchos defeating Restifo in the second set, 6-2. Freund, down 2-1, won five straight service matches en rout to his first victory of the year.
"I was frustrated a bit in the first set, I just was not converting but I managed to calm down, I loosened up and won the match," Freund said. "It was a little bittersweet starting my last season here at home but I am very happy to get a win here and happy the team did well."
Holm would go on to lose in straight sets, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Holm held a 6-5 advantage in the first set but Gjoels-Andersen broke his serve and rallied to win.
Moreno de Alboran, after dropping his first set, rallied to win the match in three sets with scores of 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. The win marks the No. 42 ranked player in the country first of the new season. In particular, Moreno de Alboran was a lot more smooth in the second and third sets shown by him getting three aces in the last two sets.
"I started off pretty slow but I told myself this isn't about tennis. This is about playing with energy and being here. After that everything just came together and my serve was a lot better and my forehand was working well" Moreno de Alboran said.
Krustev, playing on court six, won the first set 6-3, but struggled to put away freshman Jan Kirchhoff in the second. Regardless, Krustev won the second set in a tiebreak, 7-6 (6). Krustev is now 3-0 on the year.
This win had everything Santa Barbara could have wanted. Not only did many of their top players enjoy their first wins of the season, but even the younger guys showed that last weekend was not a fluke.
Regardless, UCSB gets to enjoy its first win at home but only for a bit as it has a game against Fresno State, a team that is 6-0 to begin the new year, less than 24 hours later.
"I was happy for our younger guys, and how Hiro fought to get a win and Victor came out with the win after being tested," Davis said. "I wasn't happy with our No. 3 doubles, but everything else looked good and we are going to need to be good to beat who we have tomorrow."
Santa Barbara faces Fresno State at noon tomorrow at the Rec Cen courts. Fans who wear their yellow shirts supporting the Gauchos can get free pizza during the singles matches. Shirts are also sold for 10 dollars apiece.
UC Santa Barbara 6, San Diego State 1
February 2, 2018; Santa Barbara, Calif.
1. #44 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran/Anders Holm (UCSB) def. Santiago Cevallos/Arnaud Restifo (SDSU), 6-0
2. Simon Freund/Joseph Rotheram (UCSB) def. Sander Gjoels-Andersen/Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU), 6-4
3. Raul de La Torre/Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) vs. Joseph Guillin/Victor Krustev (UCSB), 6-5, DNF
Order of finish: 1, 2
1. #42 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Santiago Cevallos (SDSU), 4-6, 6-1, 6-3
2. Simon Freund (UCSB) def. Arnaud Restifo (SDSU), 7-5, 6-2
3. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) def. Joel Popov (SDSU), 6-2, 6-0
4. Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU) def. Anders Holm (UCSB), 7-6(4), 6-4
5. Victor Krustev (UCSB) def. Jan Kirchhoff (SDSU), 6-3, 7-6(6)
6. Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU), 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 3, 6, 2*, 1, 4, 5