January 18, 2008

Gauchos Head to Hawaii to Kickoff 2008 Campaign

Jan. 18, 2008

This Week
Sunday, January 20, 2008
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
At Hawaii's Stan Sherriff Courts

Gauchos Open Season at Hawaii
UCSB begins the 2008 season on the road on Sunday against a strong University of Hawaii team. The Rainbow Warriors have three of the top players in the country and are expected to figure into the national scene this year. Santa Barbara's last contest with Hawaii was almost five years ago when the Gauchos edged the Rainbow Warriors at home, 4-3. After their contest with Hawaii, the Gauchos will then travel to No. 75 Santa Clara on Jan. 27.

Davis Enters Ninth Season
Head coach Marty Davis is entering his ninth season at UCSB. He opens the year with a lifetime record of 89-100 overall, but holds five Big West Titles in his coaching career. His most recent Big West Championship came last year as he guided Santa Barbara to its fourth NCAA Tournament berth in the last six seasons. Davis, an accomplished tennis professional, came to UCSB following a stint as an assistant coach at his alma mater, California. An All-American at Cal, he was inducted into the school's Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.

A Tough Road Ahead
The Gauchos play a tough schedule in 2008. UCSB's slate consists of nine matches against ranked teams. Two of the Gauchos' most difficult matches come early in the season when they travel to No. 37 Washington and No. 9 UCLA. Santa Barbara will also travel to No. 17 Pepperdine on April 10, host No. 75 Santa Clara on Jan. 27, host No. 73 Harvard on March 26, travel to No. 67 Utah on April 18, travel to No. 68 BYU on April 19, host No. 69 Fresno State on April 4 and travel to No. 22 Boise State on April 20.

Hejazi, Therp Lead Returnees
The Gauchos return every starter from last year's Big West Championship squad, including junior Bijan Hejazi and sophomore Philip Therp. Hejazi and Therp are expected to battle for the No. 1 spot throughout the season. Therp, who was just one of just five freshmen to make the NCAA individual tournament in 2007, will also be competing on the No. 1 doubles team alongside senior Jack Hui. With Hui healthy, the Gauchos might be able to make another run at the NCAA Tournament. In 2007, Hui recorded a 15-8 singles record, earning him Second Team All-Big West honors. Another top returnee is senior Anders Dalskov, who is penciled in at the No. 4 spot. Dalskov was named MVP for the Gauchos last season and was selected First Team All-Big West in both singles and doubles. He posted an overall singles record of 19-13 and 14-10 in dual matches. The No. 6 spot will be a battle between junior Max Taylor and sophomore Josh Finkelstein. Due to various injuries, Taylor and Finkelstein were forced to play more than expected last year. Taylor played the majority of his matches at the No. 6 spot last season, registering a 5-4 mark, while Finkelstein went 4-4 at the No. 5 spot. Finkelstein was also considered the most improved player for UCSB in 2007 and is likely to start at the No. 2 spot in doubles. Senior Nigel Barton, who completed his junior year with an overall doubles record of 13-10, will round out the last of the returnees for the Gauchos. Barton will probably see some playing time at the No. 3 spot in doubles this year.

Gauchos Add Quartet of Newcomers
Santa Barbara welcomes four newcomers to its 2007 Big West championship squad. The top newcomer is freshman Alex Konigsfeldt, who is expected to play a big role for the Gauchos at the No. 5 spot in singles. A native of Vedbaek, Denmark, Konigsfeldt has climbed as high as fifth in the Danish junior rankings. He won the Danish Junior Championship in Under-18 mixed doubles and was a semifinalist in an ITF junior tournament in Copenhagen. Another newcomer to note is freshman Eric Lee, who will be competing for the No. 6 spot as well. Lee comes into Santa Barbara as last year's Los Angeles City Singles Champion while earning a No. 25 ranking for Southern California Under-18 singles. Freshmen Maher Zeidan and Taylor Chavez Goggin will also contribute to the Gauchos lineup and provide Davis with depth. Zeidan, hailing from Marseille, France, was a semifinalist at both the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship and Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships. Goggin also boasts an impressive resume. A Channel League singles champion and Channel League MVP, Goggin was named Prep Athlete of the Year by the Santa Barbara News-Press his junior year. Sophomore Scott Hohenstein red-shirted the 2007 season and will battle for playing time this season. An injured shoulder will limit his availability.

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