FRESNO, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara looked impressive in singles play against Fresno State not dropping a single set and eventually going on to win the match, 4-1, to bounce back from a 6-1 loss to USC two weekends ago.
"I am proud of everyone, we played really well today. We started a bit slow in doubles but we annihalated them in singles and came out looking super strong, I am excited to see how much better we can get from here," Senior Co-Captain Nicolas Moreno de Alboran said.
With the victory, the Gauchos (3-1) have now defeated the Bulldogs in four straight seasons. Additionally, UCSB has only surrendered a total of three points to Fresno State (4-1) in the last four years.
The match began a bit rocky for the Gauchos as doubles continue to be a bit of a hindrance for this team. Santa Barbara's top duo comprised of Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm were the first off the courts earning a 6-1 win, but losses on courts two and three gave Fresno State the 1-0 lead.
With Fresno State holding the advantage in doubles, the Gauchos would need to fight hard in singles to make sure to come out the victor. They did just that on all courts beginning with Holm on court six absolutely besting his opponent 6-0, 6-1 and improving the senior to 2-1 on the year.
Following that win, his fellow senior co-captain Moreno de Alboran ranked No. 9 in the country, came up with the win on court one defeating No. 118 Zdenek Derkas 6-3, 6-0 earning him yet another win against a ranked opponent.
Up 2-1, the Gauchos secured the win with wins on courts two and five. Joseph Guillin, ranked No. 25 in the country, came up with a 6-2, 6-1 win to improve to 3-1 on the year and bounce back from a tough loss against USC.
Moments later, senior Hironori Koyanagi sealed the win with a big 6-1, 6-4 win over Cagatay Soke for his first match-clinching win of the year. This was a huge win for Koyanagi who had lost two of his first three matches of the season at the five hole. Now, sitting at 2-2, Koyanagi may have the confidence to continue playing hard and pick up more hard wins.
Both Krustev and Rotheram's match were stopped with both of them up a set and leading pretty comfortably in the second giving the Gauchos just a 4-1 win.
Now, UCSB will turn its attention to face the University of San Diego, a team that recently garnered some national attention and even earning some votes to be in the ITA Top 25. Last season, USD edged the Gauchos 4-3 in a game that came down to the last match on court. This time around though, the Gauchos will have their home crowd behind them when they face the Toreros.
"We know this is a big game for us and we are going to be prepared. We want to get revenge for last season and just continue improving," Moreno de Alboran said. "We are confident we could earn a win especially having our crowd with us throughout the game supporting us."
UCSB will take on USD at the Rec Cen Courts on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 12 p.m. Free pizza, as always, for Gaucho fans wearing their yellow UCSB Tennis T-shirts (available for $10).
Follow @UCSBTennis for any and all updates on the Gauchos this season including live stats at every home game!