SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For the fourth consecutive season, the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team has earned bragging rights over the rest of the Big West Conference as it claimed its ninth title in the last 13 years following a 4-0 win over Cal Poly. This was also the Gauchos (18-6 overall, 7-0 Big West) 12th conference title in program history.
"This is just wonderful. This just never gets old winning these titles and I am so proud of the guys," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "Cal Poly did not go away all day so it was tough but great to get this win."
The four straight tournament titles ties the most in conference history which was originally set by UCSB from 2006-2009. UCSB also won its 25th straight match over a Big West opponent - counting regular season and tournament contests.
In going 7-0 this season, the Gauchos did not relinquish a point to any conference opponent, winning by a 43-0 margin.
Santa Barbara started championship Sunday hot with another doubles point victory. It came after wins on the No. 2 and 3 courts.
Sophomore Joseph Guillin and freshman Victor Krustev put together one of their best performances of the season and were first to win with a 6-3 score. Senior Simon Freund and Joseph Rotheram would win 6-4 moments later. Cal Poly held a 5-4 advantage at the top court when that match was called.
In singles, junior transfer Hironori Koyanagi continues his impressive streak earning a 6-0, 6-2 win on court five. The SBCC transfer has now won seven straight singles matches and that win was also the 10th of the season for him, overall.
"Coach Muller has spent a lot of extra time with him and it has paid off and he has really found his game so it is pretty exciting," Davis said.
Junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran was the next Gaucho to come off the court as he earned a 6-3, 6-1 win today on court one to improve to 28-10 overall on the season and 15-5 in dual matches. Ranked No. 76 in the country, the New York native has been impressive all season long.
Up 3-0, UCSB needed one more win on any court to claim the title and who better than the senior captain to clinch it again as he did in the semifinals against UC Irvine.
Over on the No. 3 court, Freund won his 10th straight match with a 6-4, 6-4 score earning his team not only the title but a chance to make some noise at the NCAA Championships.
Despite the Gauchos winning 4-0, many of the matches were actually very close and could have gone either way. The Mustangs were leading at No. 6 singles and had taken matches at No. 2 and No. 4 singles to three sets when action concluded.
"We would not have won this match 7-0 if it had played all the way through so to get off the court to maintain that record was pretty sweet," Davis said.
Still, if anything has been made clear over the last 10 matches, all UCSB wins, it is that this team is certainly playing on another level. Another Big West title is great but for years now this team has wanted to make some noise at a national level and with the way they are performing right now, they might have the chance to do so this time no matter the draw.
"A lot of the guys have already talked about it and they recognize how big that opening doubles point is so that is likely where we will keep our focus," Davis said. "We feel like we could beat anyone no matter who we go against especially if we get that doubles point."
UCSB will participate in the NCAA Team Championships beginning May 17th hosted by Wake Forest University. The draws will be announced early this week, follow @UCSBTennis to stay up to date with the team.
BIG WEST MEN'S TENNIS FINALS
INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN
SUNDAY, APRIL 29
(1) UC SANTA BARBARA 4, (2) CAL POLY 0
1. Moreno de Alboran/Holm (UCSB) vs. Ortlip/Damiens (CP) - 4-5 (unfinished)
2. Freund/Joseph Rotheram (UCSB) def. Enander/Bechard (CP) - 6-4
3. Guillin/Krustev (UCSB) def. Roman Shenkiryk/Andrew Whitehouse (CP) - 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Josh Ortlip (CP) - 6-3, 6-1
2. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) vs. Dominic Bechard (CP) - 6-2, 2-6, 3-1 (unfinished)
3. Simon Freund (UCSB) def. Antoine Noel (CP) - 6-4, 6-4
4. Anders Holm (UCSB) vs. Axel Damiens (CP) - 6-1, 4-6, 0-2 (unfinished)
5. Hironagi Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Alexander Stater (CP) - 6-0, 6-2
6. Victor Krustev (UCSB) vs. Karl Enander (CP) - 4-6, 4-5 (unfinished)
Order of finish: 5, 1, 3