Gauchos Seek 5th Straight Big West Tournament Crown

Jorge Mercado / Daily Nexus
Jorge Mercado / Daily Nexus

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team will look to complete history this weekend by winning a fifth straight Big West title. UCSB (14-6 overall, 5-0 Big West) comes into this tournament having won 30 consecutive Big West matches which includes its previous tournament wins. 

The Gauchos have also won four straight one other time in program history, from 2006-09. Since the tournament site moved to Indian Wells in 2004, UCSB has won nine of the 15 tournaments. This season, UCSB has continued its dominance over conference opponents with a perfect record and a 22-3 margin of victory in those five matches. 

UCSB also has a lot of momentum heading into the Big West tournament due to the fact it won 11 of its final 13 matches. 

All year, the Gauchos have leaned on their trio of nationally-ranked athletes in singles to get the job done.

In his final year, No. 16 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran has had yet another stellar year for the team, finishing the season with a 12-2 record on court one. He has also won 11 of his final 12 matches and was named Big West Athlete of the Week this past Tuesday.

If Moreno De Alboran finishes the season in the top 16, he will become the first All-American at UCSB since David Decret in 1992.

Junior Joseph Guillin, ranked No. 58, and sophomore Victor Krustev, ranked No. 115, have also provided steady contributions from the second and third courts respectively, with the two finishing a combined 19-8 on their best courts.

On the lower courts, Santa Barbara has seen improved play from some of their veterans. On court six, senior Anders Holm seems to have found his stroke, winning seven straight matches to finish the year 10-7. He is 9-2 on the No. 6 court in general.

Senior Hironori Koyanagi has also been great since earning a spot on the number four court with a 4-1 record in that spot while sophomore Joseph Rotheram has boasted a 4-2 record at the number five court.

In doubles, the Gauchos have also vastly improved. On court one, Moreno De Alboran and Holm have won their last six matches, while on court two the duo of Guillin and Krustev have a 9-1 overall record on the season. They are 1-0 when playing at the top court. Finally, Rotheram and Alex Dominguez Soto boast a strong 6-3 dual-match mark.

Securing the No. 1 seed for the fourth consecutive year, Santa Barbara received a first-round bye and was set to face the winner of UC Davis and UC Riverside. The Aggies came out the victors with a 4-1 win. 

Santa Barbara swept UC Davis 4-0 in its only meeting with Moreno de Alboran, Krustev and Holm clinching the singles victories.

UCSB will take on UC Davis at 3 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 25 at the Indian Wells Tennis Courts.