This Friday, revenge will be on the minds of the UCSB men’s tennis team as they look to avenge last year’s beating at the hands of 70th ranked BYU. The Gauchos, led by eighth year coach Marty Davis, hope to start the season off on the right foot before hitting the road for three consecutive weekends. According to Coach Davis, the match will be critical to the growth of one of the league’s youngest teams.
“It’s a tough opener,” Davis said. “They beat us 6-1 least year, and it won’t be any easier this year. And, a lot of our success this season will depend on getting off to a good start.”
In their quest for victory, the #62 ranked Gauchos will look to the experience they do have, in the form of junior captain Josh Finkelstein and his co-captain, junior Philip Therp.
“We lean on Josh a lot for leadership,” Davis said. “And Philip is the reigning Big West Player of the Year. He’s the top dog in our conference and is critical to our success. [Josh] was more of a doubles specialist last year, but we’re hoping we can work him into the singles lineup, as well as have him continue to play great doubles.”
Those doubles matches, which open the tournament, give the winning school one point out of seven overall, not to mention momentum that could help to swing the match either way.
“The doubles point is really important,” Finkelstein said. “If we can win that, it would be really helpful in wining the whole match.”
Coach Davis echoes his captain’s sentiment.
“The doubles are an emotional first point,” Davis said. “They can give you the life you need going into the singles competition. It won’t be easy.”
Even after the match against BYU, Santa Barbara’s season doesn’t get any easier. The Gauchos play #37 Boise State on Saturday, and #2 ranked Texas in the National Team Indoor Championships in late January. Even with a schedule like that facing his team, coach Davis is keeping his primary goal in sight.
“Defending our Big West title is the number one goal,” Davis said. “It’ll really depend on getting off to a good start. And if we could get a win under our belt at home, that would be great.”