SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Winners of five of its last six games, the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team has appeared to catch fire at just the right time following a sweeping victory of Hawai'i to give them its first conference win of the year.
"Every played super good today, super clean and everybody handled the windy conditions really well so overall I was impressed with today's win," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "We wanted to get everybody confidence heading into Sunday and we did just that."
UCSB (11-6 overall, 1-0 Big West) has now won its last three games and improves its undefeated streak at home to 9-0 with two games remaining in the Santa Barbara area. Hawai'i (2-12 overall, 1-1 Big West) continues its struggles this season as it failed to capitalize on a second straight conference victory after defeating UC Davis.
As pointed out many times this season, the doubles point in college tennis is extremely important and UCSB has become much more consistent in taking that opening point. Coming into this game, the Gauchos had claimed the doubles point in six of their last eight and continued that streak today.
"We really stepped up during Big West play last season and I think we have started that off right with a big win here today," Senior captain Freund said. "Conference play is the most important part of the season and we know that."
Over on court one, juniors Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm won their match 6-2 while sophomore transfer Joseph Guillin and freshman Victor Krustev won by that same mark to give their team the 1-0 lead.
The dominance carried over into singles play where every single Gaucho won in straight sets to give themselves a nice boost heading into its next conference match. With the wind really picking up at the Rec Cen Courts, every single player adapted nicely leading to many solid wins.
The first player to pick up a win on the day was junior transfer Hiro Koyanagi which was a nice boost for him as this was his first appearance back in the lineup since March 14th against Gonzaga. The SBCC transfer won on court six by a score of 6-1, 6-0.
"Coach expected me to play better and I wasn't doing my best as I was earlier this season but when I was out of the lineup I tried to improve as much as I could," Koyanagi said. "I didn't want to put extra pressure into this game I just wanted to get this win for my team."
Freshman Victor Krustev also continued his impressive season with a 6-2, 6-1 win on court four for his ninth win of the year. Almost immediately after, Holm won his match on court three to seal the match for the Gauchos. Holm won 6-1, 6-0 to earn his second straight win.
Moreno de Alboran was the next Gaucho to earn a victory as he defeated Hawai'i's Seric, 6-2, 6-2 to stay undefeated in Santa Barbara himself. He has also won his third-straight match.
"Winning is always great especially when you play against conference teams and I am happy for the team," Moreno de Alboran said. "I love playing here with the crowd, our friends and everybody here so it's always nice to win here."
Redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram doubled up his opponent 6-3, 6-3 to bounce back nicely from a tough loss against the University of Denver, while senior captain Simon Freund delivered the final blow with a 6-2, 6-4 on court two for his third consecutive victory since losing 6-0, 6-0 against Oregon.
Overall, UCSB was expected to defeat a struggling Hawai'i team but that doesn't make the win any less sweet. Every single athlete is playing with extreme confidence since the win over then No. 49 Washington and now it must continue that as it rolls on through conference play.
"I think that playing Hawai'i today who has improved a lot since last year prepared us well for Irvine who will be a tough match for us," Moreno de Alboran said.
Santa Barbara takes on UC Irvine at 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 8th at the Rec Cen Courts. A reminder that fans wearing their UCSB shirts will get free pizza at the match.
Follow @UCSBTennis for daily content as well as to keep up to date with the team!
UCSB 7, Hawaii 0
Rec Cen Courts; April 6th, 2018
1) Holm/Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Seric/Lazarevic (Hawai'i), 6-2
2) Freund/Rotheram (UCSB) vs. Labrunie/Lu (Hawai'i), 3-2 uf
3) Guillin/Krustev (UCSB) def. Kenneth/Woehrl (Hawai'i), 6-2
Order of Finish: 1, 3
1) #79 Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Seric (Hawai'i), 6-2, 6-2
2) Freund (UCSB) def. Labrunie (Hawai'i), 6-2, 6-4
3) Holm (UCSB) def. Lazarevic (Hawai'i), 6-1, 6-0
4) Krustev (UCSB) def. Woehrl (Hawai'i), 6-2, 6-1
5) Rotheram (UCSB) def. Tristian (Hawai'i), 6-3, 6-4
6) Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Lu (Hawai'i), 6-1, 6-0
Order of Finish: 6, 4, 3*, 1, 5, 2
UCSB (11-6, 1-0) 3W
Hawai'i (2-12, 1-1) 1L