SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara extended its amazing win streak against conference opponents, including tournament matches, to 30 on Sunday, defeating the University of Hawaii (7-12 overall, 1-4 Big West) 6-1 in both teams final match of the regular season.
With the win, UCSB (14-6 overall) finishes with a perfect 5-0 conference record for the fourth-straight year. Santa Barbara holds the top seed heading into next weeks Big West tournament where it seeks its fifth-straight conference title and 12th under Head Coach Marty Davis in his 20th year as a head coach for the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara finished its season winning 11 of its final 13 matches with its only two losses coming against ranked opponents, No. 14 UCLA and No. 35 Cal. Along the way, it also beat then No. 17 Oregon which is the highest win against any ranked opponent in the Marty Davis era.
"This was a really solid season. I am happy with how much we have progressed over the last month and a half and how much we have grown as a team. We are really peaking at the right time," Davis said.
In front of its home crowd for the last time this season, UCSB really came out strong like it has most of the year. In fact, the Gauchos went 8-1 at home this season and have gone 42-6 over the past five seasons when playing at the Recreation Center Courts in Santa Barbara.
"Our fans are the best in the country. They really give us such a great advantage and they are the reason we have gotten some big wins here. Overall, I have to give a lot of credit to our fans for always showing up and cheering on our men to victory," Davis said.
UCSB began its final match of the regular season dominating the doubles point. First, Joseph Guillin and Victor Krustev capped off a great regular season as a duo besting their opponents 6-2 to finish with a dual-match record of 10-1. The couplet played the majority of the season in the No. 2 spot where they finish 9-1. Their only loss was to a Cal duo.
Shortly after, the No. 72 pairing in the country, Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm, took care of business winning their sixth-straight match to end the regular season with a 9-6 record following a 6-2 win at the No. 1 court. The pair was also 3-3 against ranked opponents.
In singles, the Gauchos made quick work of the Rainbow Warriors. First off the court was Moreno de Alboran who currently ranks No. 15 in the country. He took out his opponent, Andre Ilagan, 6-0, 6-3. Moreno de Alboran finishes the regular season with a 13-3 overall mark and winning his final six matches. He also finished the regular season winning 11 of his last 12 singles matches.
Then, senior Hironori Koyanagi picked up a solid 6-1, 6-2 win over on court four. He finishes the regular season 10-7 and, more importantly, 4-1 at the No. 4 court where it seems he is most comfortable.
Next, sophomore standout Krustev clinched the win for the Gauchos with a 6-4, 6-0 win on court three. The No. 106 player in the country finishes with a 13-4 overall mark with 12 of those wins coming at the No. 3 spot.
With the match in tact, both teams decided to continue playing allowing the chance for No. 57 Guillin to conclude the season on a high note with a win. The junior doubled up his opponent 6-3, 6-3 with a 9-6 overall mark.
Joseph Rotheram also ended the season got to end his season with a victory as he bested his opponent 6-2, 6-4 to finish 4-2 when playing on court five.
Finally, freshman Luka Vukmanovic made his first NCAA dual-match appearance for the Gauchos on Sunday and played a stellar match. After dropping the first set 4-6, the freshman bounced back to force a third set with a 6-4 win in the second. Despite a great effort in the third, Vukmanovic would fall 1-0 (10-8) in the tiebreak.
Sunday's win over Hawaii capped off another great year for UCSB. Despite some matches having to be canceled and some hiccups along the way, Santa Barbara put themselves in another favorable position to get back to the NCAA Tournament and get its first win in the NCAA's since 1998.
"We could really make some noise if we could get into the NCAA's but first we have to take care of business next week first at Indian Wells," Davis said.
UCSB's next match will be the semifinal match on Friday, April 26 at the Indian Wells Court. Time and opponent to be determined.
UC Santa Barbara 6, Hawaii 1
Apr 21, 2019, at Santa Barbara, Calif. (Rec Cen Courts)
|1. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Andre Ilagan (UH) 6-0, 6-3|
|2. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) def. Lucas Labrunie (UH) 6-3, 6-3|
|3. Victor Krustev (UCSB) def. Blaz Seric (UH) 6-4, 6-0|
|4. Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Simao Telo Alves (UH) 6-1, 6-2|
|5. Joseph Rotheram (UCSB) def. Chia-Hua Lu (UH) 6-2, 6-4|
|6. Asad Siyyid (UH) def. Luka Vukmanovic (UCSB) 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-8)|
|1. Nicolas Moreno de Al/Anders Holm (UCSB) def. Andre Ilagan/Lucas Labrunie (UH) 6-3|
|2. Joseph Guillin/Victor Krustev (UCSB) def. Blaz Seric/Simao Telo Alves (UH) 6-2|
|3. Joseph Rotheram/Alex Soto (UCSB) vs. Asad Siyyid/Chia-Hua Lu (UH) 5-2, unfinished|