No. 4 Seed Gauchos Face-Off Against No. 1 seed USC in First Round of NCAA Championships
May 6, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009 at 5 p.m.
No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara at No. 1 seed USC
at USC's Marks Tennis Stadium
The Week's Match: The NCAA Tournament
The No. 4 seed UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team (11-13 overall) will clash with No. 1 seed and host USC in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at 5 p.m. Friday afternoon at the Marks Tennis Stadium in Los Angeles. The match will mark the Gauchos fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and the second time in three years that they will play USC in the first round.
1. Alex Konigsfeldt UCSB vs. Robert Farah (#8)
2. Josh Finkelstein UCSB vs. Steve Johnson (#53)
3. Scott Hohenstein UCSB vs. Jaak Poldma (#81)
4. Max Taylor UCSB vs. Abdullah Magdas (#106)
5. Taylor Chavez Goggin UCSB vs. Matt Kecki
6. Mathieu Forget UCSB vs. Jason McNaughton
1. Konigsfeldt/Finkelstein UCSB vs. Farah/Johnson (#4)
2. Hohenstein/Evan Jurgensen UCSB vs. Magdas/Daniel Nguyen (#59)
3. Chavez Goggin/Nick Caledonia UCSB vs. Kecki/Poldma
Gauchos In The NCAA Tournament
UCSB will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos have also gone to the postseason six times in the last eight campaigns, all under head coach Marty Davis. Overall, Santa Barbara has received nine tournament berths, all since 1996.
The USC men's tennis team has had an outstanding season in 2009, posting a 19-5 overall record to earn a No. 8 ranking in the ITA National Rankings. The Trojans will also enter the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships as the No. 8 seed overall and were selected to host the first and second round as the No. 1 seed. Joining UCSB and USC at the regional are No. 2 Minnesota (18-7) and No. 3 New Mexico (20-5) who will square off in the opening round.
USC has punched its ticket to the big dance for the third consecutive year, upping its overall total to 31 trips. In its last meeting with USCB, which took place on May 11, 2007, the Trojans defeated the Gauchos 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Trojans have claimed 16 national titles and have garnered in a 62-29 mark in tournament history. Last year USC added to that total, carving their way into the NCAA Quarterfinals as a No. 6 seed. This year, the Trojans have gone an impressive 14-2 on their home courts while defeting four teams ranked in the top-10. In Pac-10 play, USC mustered a 5-1 record, finishing second in the conference behind UCLA.
Sophomore Alex Konigsfeldt will lead the way for the Gauchos as they put their season on the line against USC. The native of Vedbaek, Denmark, was recently selected as the 2009 Big West co-Player of the Year, recording a hard fought 10-12 dual match, primarily at the No. 1 position. Konigsfeldt came up huge for UCSB in the Big West Tournament, defeating fellow first team all-conference foes Moritz Starke of Pacific and UC Irvine's Steven Henderson to propel UCSB to its fourth straight title. Konigsfeldt, with his teammate Josh Finkelstein, also won all three of his doubles matches at the league tournament. The sophomore will have his hands full Friday as he squares off against a top-10 nationally ranked player in Robert Farah.
Junior Josh Finkelstein is one of the major success stories for UCSB, posting a team best 13-3 dual match record. As this year's team co-captain and a source of the young team's leadership, Finkelstein is one of the primary reasons for Gaucho success. In the final weeks of the season, he climbed to the No. 2 slot in the line-up, recording a perfect 3-0 record at that position. In doubles, Finkelstein has played at the No. 1 spot, totaling a 9-7 record with his teammate Konigsfeldt. The native of Los Angeles is slated to take on No. 53 Steve Johnson.
The Middle of the Pack
At the NCAA Championships on Friday, junior Scott Hohenstein and senior Max Taylor are scheduled to play at the No. 3 and No. 4 spots respectively. During the regular season, the two acted like utility men for coach Marty Davis, shifting from one position to the next. At times, Davis selected the starting line-up just hours before match play due to team injuries and fatigue. However, the two veterans weathered the storm, each earning All-Big West honors in singles play. Despite battling injuries, Hohenstein ended the season at 8-10 and, along with partner Evan Jurgensen, captured a 9-6 record at the No. 2 doubles position. Taylor, completed his season with a 6-16 dual match record, but the lone senior won when it counted, going unbeaten in the 2009 Big West Championships, improving to 6-0 in his career at the tournament. The two Gauchos will mix it up against their nationally ranked competitors in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Young and the Restless
Sophomore Taylor Chavez Goggin and freshman Mathieu Forget will round out the last of the starting six. The second-year duo is young and inexperienced in NCAA tournament play but must still perform at the peak of their game to give UCSB a chance to upset USC. Their opponents are the only unranked Trojans in the line-up and will make for an interesting match if the two were to come out victorious. Goggin will go into Friday's match with a 7-11 overall record while Forget ended the regular season at 7-4 in dual match play.
Earlier this year UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success. UCSB has a 92% student-athlete graduation rate.