UCSB Secures Top-Seed at Big West Tournament Following 4-0 Win Over Cal Poly

UCSB Secures Top-Seed at Big West Tournament Following 4-0 Win Over Cal Poly

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara has clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big West Tournament next week for the fourth consecutive year following a convincing 4-0 win over rival Cal Poly on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, UCSB has now won 29-consecutive Big West matches, including tournament games.

Santa Barbara is now 13-6 overall and 4-0 in the Big West heading into its final match against Hawai'i tomorrow while Cal Poly finishes the regular season 13-9 overall and 4-1 in conference play.

With it being also being senior day on Saturday, it was fitting that the three seniors that were being honored right before singles play began were the ones to earn the three wins necessary to secure the triumph over Cal Poly.

"You really could not script it any better than that. It was perfect to have all three of them win today, they have all meant a lot to our growth as a program," Head Coach Mary Davis said.

"These guys played so hard last year against USC and that was a big factor in us getting that generous donation for our new facility. They are all leaving a great legacy."

Before that, however, UCSB needed to take the doubles point.

Over on court one, senior co-captains Nicolas Moreno de Alboran/Anders Holm, ranked No. 72 in the country, broke Cal Poly's senior pair, Josh Ortlip/Dominic Bechard, at 3-4 to take the final three points of the set and take the win, 6-4.

With the win, the top UCSB duo has now won five straight and are now 8-6 in dual-match play this season.

Almost immediately following Moreno de Alboran/Holm's win, Joseph Rotheram and Alex Dominguez Soto won 6-2 on court three to secure the doubles point.

In singles, No. 15 Moreno de Alboran began the streak of senior victories by torching his opponent, Josh Ortlip, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.

"I could not have asked for a better ending. I am so overwhelmed by everything and all of our fans. I am so happy to be a Gaucho," Moreno de Alboran said.

The New York native has now won five straight and he is 12-3 in dual-match play and 11-2 when playing on the top court.

Following his win, Holm was the next off the board, picking up his seventh consecutive victory with a 6-2, 6-3 win over sophomore Roman Shenkiryk. Holm is now 10-7 on the year and 9-2 on court six.

"I am truly enjoying all of this right now. I realized midseason this was my last chance to make a change on this team and I am happy to be a part of this," Holm said. 

Finally, Hironori Koyanagi clinched the win for the Gauchos. The senior bested freshman Gary Vardanyan on court four, 6-1, 6-4 improving to 9-7 this year. Koyanagi has also never lost a Big West match in singles.

Despite the match being called at 4-0, the Gauchos were on their way to a possible 7-0 victory. Rotheram was up 5-0 in the second set after winning the first while No. 103 Victor Krustev was winning up 4-0.

No. 56 ranked junior Joseph Guillin was pushed to a third set just as the match was called after winning the first but dropping the second.

Overall, Saturday's win was a huge one for the Gauchos. In search of its fifth-straight conference title, UCSB is now in the perfect position to do so by locking up the No. 1 seed which secures a first-round bye. Now, Santa Barbara just has to close out the season strong with its 30th-straight conference win.

UCSB closes out the regular season with a match against Hawai'i at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 21 at the Rec Cen Courts.