No. 4 Seed UCSB Shocks No. 2 Seed UC Irvine, Wins Fourth Straight Big West Tournament Title
April 19, 2009
Indian Wells, Calif. - The No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team did it again, clinching its fourth straight Big West tournament title after dropping No. 2 seed UC Irvine 4-2 Sunday morning at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"I'm so proud of this team from where we started to how far we've come," team co-captain Josh Finkelstein said. "We lost to Irvine earlier this year but we've been playing great tennis and we just peaked at the right time."
The Gauchos got out of the gate quickly, notching a victory at the No. 2 doubles. UCSB clinched the point moments later when the No. 1 duo of Josh Finkelstein and Scott Hohenstein snatched an 8-6 win over Sam Gould and Khunpol Issara.
After winning the doubles point, the UCSB men have won their last four matches. Today, they were hoping to make it five straight.
In singles, the Anteaters bounced back, prevailing at the No. 2 slot to knot the match at 1 apiece. On center court, Alex Konigsfeldt overpowered Steven Henderson, 6-2, 6-4. Mathieu Forget followed suit, with his own win at the No. 6 slot to push the Gauicho lead to 3-1. Josh Finkelstein dropped his match at the No. 2 position to keep the Anteaters alive, but Max Taylor solidified the Gaucho win with a 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Stephen Stege.
"After Max Taylor won his match, we all rushed the court," Finkelstein said. "It was a big win for him as a senior and a great day for us as a team."
After clinching the match for the Gauchos, the lone senior has been perfect in the lime light of the conference tournament, going 6-0 in his career.
"This is probably the most unlikely team I have ever coached to win the Big West title," coach Davis said. "We are a fit team, but we are very young and inexperienced. But it just goes to show you how motivated our guys are out there when they take the court."
The Gauchos only played with four starters from last year's title team, including UCSB's No. 1, Alex Konigsfeldt.
"Konigsfeldt was a big spark for us a great leader out on the court today," coach Davis explained. "He won both his singles and doubles matches for us and he played tough at the No. 1 slot."
With the win, the Gauchos (11-12 overall) earn a NCAA title bid.
1. Finkelstein/Konigsfeldt (UCSB) def. Gould/Issara (UCI) - 8-6
2. Hohenstein/Evan Jurgensen (UCSB) def. Jon Kazaraian/Tsai (UCI) - 8-3
3. Henderson/Gautam Vaidyanathan (UCI) vs. Nick Caledonia/Chavez Goggin (UCSB) - DNF
Order of Finish: 2, 1
1. Alex Konigsfeldt (UCSB) def. Steven Henderson (UCI) - 6-2, 6-4
2. Fabian Matthews (UCI) def. Josh Finkelstein (UCSB) - 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
3. Khunpol Issara (UCI) def. Scott Hohenstein (UCSB) - 6-3, 6-3
4. Max Taylor (UCSB) def. Stephen Stege (UCI) - 6-4, 6-3
5. Sam Gould (UCI) vs. Taylor Chavez Goggin (UCSB) - DNF
6. Mathieu Forget (UCSB) def. Zac Tsai (UCI) - 6-3, 6-1
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 6, 2, 4