May 7, 2008
First round of the NCAA Tournament Championships
Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
No. 58 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Stanford University Cardinals
at the Ralph-Straus Tennis Center in Pepperdine, Calif.
What You've Been Waiting For
The UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team (15-9 overall) cruised through the Big West Championships a little less than two weeks ago downing Cal Poly in the semifinals, 4-1, and then sweeping University of Pacific in the championship, 4-0. The Gauchos' reward for claiming their third-consecutive Big West Championship...a dance with the 22nd-ranked team in the nation in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
With a 12-8 overall record, Stanford University finished third in the Pac-10 standings with a conference record of 5-2. The Cardinals are currently riding a four-game winning streak including a 5-2 smashing of both 25th-ranked Washington and 29th-ranked California. Their biggest upset came on March 8, resulting in a 7-0 blanking of then No. 15 Arizona State. Although UCSB have not played Stanford since 1990, the Cardinals have punished the Gauchos in years prior, holding a 6-1 all-time advantage. This time around the Stanford squad boasts three nationally-ranked singles players including No. 80 Matt Bruch and No. 124 Richard Wire.
Should the Gauchos defeat Stanford, the UCSB men will advance to Sunday's match where they would face either No. 13 Pepperdine or No. 63 University of Hawai'i. The Gauchos lost to both their match-ups to the two teams, 4-3 to Hawai'i and 6-1 to Pepperdine.
In the Gaucho Arsenal
Big West Player of the Year Philip Therp will lead the 58th-ranked Gauchos to their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996. The sophomore from Denmark obtained two wins at the No.1 singles position in the Big West Championships beating Cal Poly's Andy Gerst and Pacific's Moritz Stark. Therp will be backed by his co-Big West first team all-league teammate Bijan Hejazi in doubles play. Senior Anders Dalskov will also being joining in the mix after playing in his first two singles matches in the Big West Championships since he underwent knee surgery early in the season. The pair will also need help further down in their lineup if they hope to knock off 22nd-ranked Stanford. During the regular season, No. 3 slot through the No. 6 slot have been the heart and soul of this Gaucho squad, combining for a 52-36 overall record. Junior Max Taylor leads the team in winning percentage, posting an 11-5 mark in dual match play this season.