SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — UC Santa Barbara capped off a wonderful weekend in front of its home crowd Saturday, picking up a very impressive 6-1 victory over Fresno State. The No. 37 ranked Gauchos are now 3-1 on the season, 2-0 at home, and handed the Bulldogs their first loss of the season dropping them to 6-1 on the year.
"We could not have asked for a better home opening weekend than how this went," Senior Simon Freund said. "We got a great crowd in both games and the team played really well. I am proud of this team as a whole to beat two good teams and I am looking forward to how much more damage we could do this year."
"Overall this was a great performance by the team," Asst. Coach Blake Muller said. "This is a good team with a good staff and it was awesome for us to come out and feed off each other the way we do, especially in the doubles to secure that point. Everyone kept their foot on the gas after a good start and it was a good day."
Almost exactly like yesterday, UCSB was able to ride the high of a great, eccentric crowd into a very solid doubles performance. Despite the struggles, the day before on court three, freshman Victor Krustev and sophomore Joseph Guillin played one of their best matches of the season today.
The duo went on to earn the first win of the day defeating Fresno State's Youssef Hassan and Zdenek Derkas, 6-1. The No. 44 ranked pair of juniors Anders Holm and Nicolas Moreno de Alboran then sealed the doubles point for the Gauchos moments later defeating Xander Veys and Mantas Bugailiskis 6-2.
"I think me and Nic have a ton of confidence right now," Holm said. "We believe in each other and know each other and it helps bring us home some wins. It's amazing to have this connection we have both on and off the court and all that helps enjoy this sport even more."
Freund and redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram were also well on their way to another doubles victory before the match was called with them leading 5-2.
In singles play, the Gauchos continued their dominance much to the excitement of the crowd. Most all of the UCSB players won their first sets, setting the stage for multiple straight-set victories as well as a very excited fan base cheering them on.
Without a doubt the player who had the most impressive victory this evening was Freund. The senior seemed to be having a great day in all facets of his game. His serve was sharp, his backhand was solid and most importantly he kept the pressure coming.
Freund would blank Derkas 6-0, 6-0 picking up his second victory of the weekend improving to 2-1 overall on the year. Dating back to yesterday, Freund has now won 17 consecutive points.
"I was just very focused today. I know this guy is a tough play, always hanging in there so it was important for me to get out to a good start and not let up," Freund said. "It was just great to get an easy win and give my teammates some confidence because it helps me when they're doing good as well."
The No. 42 ranked player in the country, Moreno de Alboran, would pick up the Gauchos third point of the match not long after. Riding the high of a great three-set win yesterday, the New York native made life much easier for himself today winning the first set 6-4 before taking the match with a 6-1 win in the second.
With the veterans having a solid day, it was time for some of the younger guys to keep pace and help deliver the Gauchos their second straight victory.
That younger guy turned out to be Guillin who, for the second consecutive day, was a key component in UCSB getting the win. The transfer earned the game-clinching victory defeating Jeremy Moser 6-4, 6-2 even despite having his serve broken early in both sets.
"I didn't play well last weekend at USC and I wanted to come out strong in front of this home crowd," Guillin said. "And I think I did that. I am happy for the team and I am even happier to help deliver the win. Overall I am just happy here, I feel the coaches trust me and it makes me confident and feel very important. I love helping this team."
Despite the match having been over, the Gaucho fans and players alike were still cheering on their fellow athletes in hopes everyone could enjoy a victory.
For the second-straight day, junior transfer Hironori Koyanagi was able to seal a victory despite troubles looming. Koyanagi won in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5.
One of the more impressive rookies for the Gauchos, Krustev, had been perfect at 3-0 heading into today's match. Unfortunately for the freshman, he had his first taste of defeat losing to Eturk 6-4, 6-4.
Finally, on court three, Holm was in a heated match against the Bulldogs' Bugailiskis. He won the first set 6-4, but the Fresno State athlete rallied in the second to win by the same margin setting up the tiebreaker third set.
While the match had already been decided, Holm knew getting a win in this match would be important for him going forward especially after coming in having lost two in a row. In the tiebreaker, Holm took the lead and never looked back winning 10-6 and giving UCSB the 6-1 win.
"It was crucial for me to get this win. It's always nice to get a win under the belt, especially this early in the season," Holm said. "I knew inside my head it was important for me to get this win and the outburst I showed after I won proved that."
Overall, for Santa Barbara this weekend proved one thing: this team is for real. Behind the back of a very supportive crowd, the Gauchos are poisedfulfillfill one of their goals, to be perfect at home. Luckily for them, with the talent they have and the support system around them, that goal seems to be very plausible.
"It's still a long season ahead of us and it is important for us to have everyone on this team ready to step up," Holm said. "We are a young team and getting everyone ready is crucial, we can't have sloppy days because that leads to losses."
"Our whole team could play, we have a ton of depth and I think it all starts with how well our vets start off," Muller said. "It was great to be back here in our home courts with this great energy from the fans, now we have to ride that momentum into next week and the season as a whole."
Santa Barbara continues its season with a match against the University of San Diego next Sunday on the road at noon.
UC Santa Barbara 6, Fresno State 1
February 3, 2018; Santa Barbara, Calif.
1. #42 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Xander Veys (FSU), 6-4, 6-1
2. Simon Freund (UCSB) def. Zdenek Derkas (FSU), 6-0, 6-0
4. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) def. Jeremy Moser (FSU) 6-4, 6-2
5. Cem Eturk (FSU) def. Victor Krustev (UCSB), 6-4, 6-4
6. Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Henrique Osorio (FSU), 6-3, 7-5