INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The top-seeded Gauchos (15-6, 6-0) demonstrated on Friday why they are the odds-on favorite to win their fifth consecutive tournament title, sweeping UC Davis (12-11, 1-5) 4-0 in the Big West Tournament semifinals.
After earning a bye in the first round of the conference tournament, UC Santa Barbara showed no signs of rust, with Joseph Guillin and Victor Krustev claiming a 6-2 doubles victory on court two to kick off the match. With the win, Guillin and Krustev continue their dominant run of doubles play, moving to 10-1 on the season.
On court one, the veteran duo of Nicolas Moreno De Alboran and Anders Holm officially gave UCSB the first point of the match with a 6-4 victory--their seventh straight victory on the top court.
In singles play, the Gauchos continued their impressive display, with No.16 Moreno De Alboran earning the first singles point for the team on court one. On track to become the first UCSB All-American since 1992, Moreno De Alboran has now won 12 of his last 13 matches, and remains unbeaten in conference play.
The next victory for Santa Barbara came from another senior, when Hironori Koyanagi swept his opponent on court four. Koyanagi has settled well into his role on court four, winning five of his six total matches on the court.
With a commanding 3-0 lead over a clearly overmatched opponent, the only question remaining for Santa Barbara was where the last point would come from.
Despite dropping the first set, Joseph Rotheram refused to give up on court five, battling all the way back and taking both the second and third sets to clinch victory for UC Santa Barbara. After some struggles earlier in the season, the comeback victory bodes well for Rotheram heading forward.
Now, the Gauchos will have Saturday off, before taking on second-seeded Cal Poly in the conference final on Sunday. In the previous matchup between the two sides, UCSB swept the Mustangs 4-0 in the penultimate game of the season.
If UC Santa Barbara can win on Sunday, it will clinch its fifth consecutive tournament title, as well as its fifth consecutive postseason berth. In addition, the Gauchos will be gunning for their 12th title in 19 years under Head Coach Marty Davis.
UCSB will take on Cal Poly at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 9 a.m. in the Big West Tournament final.