SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Following up a 7-0 victory of USF, the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team continued its successful run earning a 5-2 victory over the University of Pacific (1-8) on Sunday.
"This was a very exciting match, more than that scoreline will indicate," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "We had another good crowd, another good day and we are happy to pick up a win."
The Gauchos (5-2) have now improved to 4-0 at home, and will have some momentum headed into next week when they are back on the road where they are currently 0-1. One of Santa Barbara's biggest goals coming into the season was staying undefeated that home, and so far it has accomplished that.
"We knew this was going to be a tough match and we know these teams want to beat us, but it was really good that we came out and earned a good win in front of our crowd," Senior Simon Freund said.
The day began with a big matchup on the No. 1 court for doubles as juniors Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm took on the No. 24 pair in the country comprised of Akram El Sallaly and Bernardo Oliveira. The match began with the UCSB pair being broken early. At 2-2, however, Moreno de Alboran and Holm turned the tide as at duece point, Moreno de Alboran had an ace serve to take the point. The Gaucho couplet would go on to win the game, 6-4.
"It felt really good to get that win, I have to give full credit for my partner. Today I played good service games but my partner hit incredible serves, incredible volleys and he is the one who got the breaks home," Holm said.
"Today we really went back to the basics and we know each other so well that we are great when we do that. Yesterday we were too focused on our opponent's weaknesses than our own strengths and that hurt us," Holm said. "I think when we play to our strengths we are good enough to beat any duo in this country without a doubt."
"I don't fully agree with him, I think this was a very good joint effort. Yesterday, we were not doing the basics well so today we took a step back and focused on ourselves and we came out with the win," Moreno de Alboran said. "We now have to take this win and build off it."
Before they won, Freund and redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram had defeated Pacific's Watson/Khachatryan easily, 6-2, to give the Gauchos the doubles point and the early 1-0 lead.
In singles, unlike yesterday, the top UCSB players on the first three courts managed to put together solid performances en rout to straight set victories.
However, the first win in singles came courtesy of Rotheram in the No. 6 court as he blew past Pacific's Horoz defeating him 6-2, 6-2. It was his second victory of the season.
On court two, Freund took the first set versus Ross Watson easily, 6-0. He held a very advantagouos 3-0 lead in the second set, but credit to Watson for never giving up and tying the set at 3-3. The sweden native would go on to still take the set and the match, however, giving the home team a 3-0 lead.
"With this being my last season I have very high expectations for myself and this team so sometimes I will get too excited. It's important for me to take every game one at a time and try my best in each outing," Freund said.
For the second consecutive day, Moreno de Alboran sealed the win for UCSB with his game-clinching victory on court one. The No. 75 player in the country had a tough match against El Sallaly but he managed to pull away with a 6-2, 6-4 victory.
"I felt very confident from that doubles win and was able to ride that momentum into another win for myself and, more importantly, this team. Now we have to take this momentum into next week at New Mexico," Moreno de Alboran said.
Despite the match being won, the three Gauchos still playing still had hopes of attaining another victory especially Joseph Guillin. The sophomore transfer has the best singles record on the team at 5-1 heading into this match. He has split time in both the No. 3 and 4 courts.
"I think Guillin deserves props, undefeated on the weekend again and he has just been so reliable for us. He will continue being a big part of our team going forward," Davis said.
Even though they knew they were going to head home with the loss, the Tigers kept fighting valiantly and to their credit managed to take a couple of points with them.
Junior transfer Hironori Koyanagi lost the first set of his match 6-4, and was down early in the second 5-2. Koyanagi fought back to be down 5-4 serving. Unfortunately, the Ventura College tranfer lost his serve and would lose the match.
Much like his battle on Saturday, Holm was off to a bad start in his match against Oliveira. He would go on to lose the first set 2-6, but rallied to win the second 6-4 setting up a 10-point tiebreaker.
Throughout the entirety of the third set, Holm kept fighting. Down 8-4, Holm would cut the lead down to 8-7. Unfortunately, he would go on to lose the tiebreaker set 1--0 (10-7) ending the current three-match winning streak he was on.
"To be honest, I would give my left arm to win a match for this team and that is how I feel everytime I am on this court," Holm said. "Unfortuntely this season, I have put myself in some bad spots going down early and if I keep doing that I won't be able to win many matches. I am just happy that as a team we were able to beat Pacific."
Overall, this weekend was another successful outing for the Gauchos. Following a tough loss against USD last week, UCSB and it's top athletes were able to shake that off and put together a solid performance to stay unbeaten at home.
Now, the real question will be if the Gauchos can take this momentum on the road come next week.
UCSB's next match will be against Utah on Saturday, Feb. 24 in New Mexico.
UC Santa Barbara 5, University of Pacific 2
February 18, 2018; Santa Barbara, Calif.
(1) Moreno de Alboran/Holm def. No. 24 El Sallaly/Oliviera: 6-4
(2) Freund/Rotheram def. Watson/Khachatryan: 6-2
(3) Gullin/Koyanagi vs. Lieu/Horoz Garner: 3-4 (uf)
Order of finish: 2, 1
(1) Moreno def. El Sallaly: 6-2, 6-4
(2) Freund def. Watson: 6-0, 6-4
(3) Guillin def. Khachatryan: 6-2, 6-4
(4) Holm vs. Oliveira: 2-6, 6-4, 1-0 (7-10)
(5) Koyanagi vs. Lieu: 4-6, 4-6 (4)
(6) Rotheram def. Horoz: 6-2, 6-2
Order of finish: 6, 2, 1*, 3, 5, 4