SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team put forth a great effort Sunday afternoon battling back from a 3-0 deficit to eventually tie the match at 3-3 before the University of San Diego's senior Alexandros Araouzos sent the Gauchos back to Santa Barbara with a 4-3 loss.
"A 4-3 loss to USD, a team who just beat a top-10 in the nation, hurts. We are definitely disappointed there but now we just have to move on and hold our heads high going into next week," Junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran said. "This loss will only motivate us going forward to be able to beat these tough teams."
Following the defeat, UCSB falls to 3-2 on the year while USD continues to show its tenacity this season with another quality victory under its belt bringing them to a 3-1 overall mark.
Right off the bat, the Gauchos best athletes failed to showcase their full potential as senior Simon Freund and redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram lost the first doubles match against San Diego's Joel Gamerov and August Holmgren 6-2.
The team of Joseph Guillin and Hironori Koyanagi tied the doubles at 1-1 with a 6-2 in court three, however, moments later the Toreros clinched the doubles point as Gui Osorio and Nico Borter defeated the normally trustworthy pair of juniors Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm 6-3.
For most teams in college tennis, including Santa Barbara, getting the doubles point is a must as its hard to rally to win four of six matches in singles play.
The chance for a win looked even bleaker when No. 75 Moreno de Alboran suffered a 6-3, 6-3 loss on court one and Freund lost 6-4, 6-2 on court two giving USD the 3-0 advantage and needing one point to clinch.
Fortunately, over on court three, Guillin provided the Gauchos with a much-needed point. He would defeat Borter in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
The sophomore transfer is starting to become one of UCSB's most reliable players with three straight victories in singles play improving to 4-1 in singles overall. His only loss came to USC's Laurens Verboven.
Following his victory, another familiar face, Holm, sealed a win for the 'Chos on court four with a 6-2, 7-6 (5) victory over Gamerov who is ranked 75th in the country.
Last week, Holm expressed how important it was to earn a singles victory despite the Gauchos having clinched the match. It seems that persistence carried into this week as the junior earned his third win of the season and earned a quality win over an opponent who defeated him during the fall at the ITA regionals.
While those two matches were in progress, the biggest match of the evening was over on court six as Rotheram was facing off against USD's David Norfeldt.
Nordfeldt took the first set 6-2 and looked like he was en rout to a straight-set victory to seal the match of the Toreros. Losing 5-4, 40-0 in the second set, Rotheram would go on to save four straight match points in that game and eventually take the win to tie the set at 5-5.
Ultimately, the Manhattan Beach native would go on to win the set 7-5, allowing for the match to extend and let Guillin and Holm earn their victories. Moments after Holm's win, Rotheram sealed the come from behind victory knocking off Norfeldt 6-1 in the final set.
"Joey was absolutely incredible today playing at No. 6," Moreno de Alboran said. "He was running for everything, and made a heroic comeback effort to really help us come back and nearly win an incredible match."
With the match tied at 3-3, it would all come down to the final bout on court five between Araouzos and Koyanagi. The UCSB athlete jumped out to the early lead winning the first set 7-6 (5) before losing the second 6-4. In the final set, the USD athlete came out the victor defeating Hiro 6-2.
"Even though it came down to Hiro I think we all know and he knows its not his fault," Moreno de Alboran said. "We were all there and cheered him on but it wasn't meant to be. Now we just have to go back, work hard and hopefully next time we are 3-3 we come out the victors."
Despite dealing with much adversity throughout the week with the flu going around the team, UCSB was fine and ready to play come Sunday, unfortunately, they just did not come out the victor.
The Gauchos may have had a tough outing in San Diego but at least they could enjoy coming home for two matches this upcoming week.
UCSB's next match is against USF at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17th at the Rec Cen Courts.
UC Santa Barbara (3) at University of San Diego (4)
Feb 11, 2018; Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center (San Diego, Calif.)
1. Gui Osorio/Nico Borter (USD) def. Nicolas Moreno/Anders Holm (UCSB) 6-3
USD wins doubles point
Order of finish: 2,3,1*
1. August Holmgren (USD) def. Nicolas Moreno (UCSB) 6-3, 6-3
2. Gui Osorio (USD) def. Simon Freund (UCSB) 6-4, 6-2
3. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) def. Nico Borter (USD) 6-4, 6-4
4. Anders Holm (UCSB) def. Joel Gamerov (USD) 6-2, 7-6 (5-0)
5. Alexandros Araouzos (USD) def. Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) 6-7 (0-5), 6-4, 6-2
6. Joseph Rotheram (UCSB) def. David Norfeldt (USD) 2-6, 7-5, 6-1
Order of finish 1,2,3,4,6,5*