It was a gloomy afternoon in more ways than one on Saturday as the 62nd ranked Gauchos dropped their season opener under cloudy skies, six to one in favor of Boise State. UCSB came out hot but could not come up with a win in any of the three doubles matches to open the day, and never recovered after that.
“The doubles are an emotional first point, they can give you a life going into the singles competition,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We got off to a great start and then sort of fell apart. After that, we got rolled over pretty quick.”
The three nationally ranked players boasted by 37th ranked Boise State are among the best in college tennis.
“They’re a very solid team, and they have three nationally ranked singles players, which is unusual,” Davis said. “Interestingly, the three closest matches were against their three best players, which was good for us.”
Of those matches, junior Scott Hohenstein was the only Gaucho to pull out a victory. The win came against 85th ranked Stanley Sarapanich, playing in the fifth spot. Hohenstein and Sarapanich split the first two sets, but the home team pulled out the third set tie break to claim his team’s only point for the day.
“I kind of surprised myself,” Hohenstein said. “I’ve been hitting really well lately. It was great to finally go out there and play.”
After being sidelined for two years with injuries, including shoulder surgery, Hohenstein is finally making it back into the rotation as one of Davis’ most talented players.
“Scott is very capable,” Davis said. “He’s on the verge of being a great singles player and we’re excited about finally having him back in the lineup and healthy.”
Junior captain Philip Therp took one set against 23rd ranked Clancy Shields, but came up short in the end.
“Last year I played against number six and played him close,” Therp said. “That time I was happy with coming close, but now I want to start winning those matches. I feel like I’m up there with those players now.”
With a groin injury that will require surgery in the off-season, Therp has been looking to add another weapon to his repertoire, which will help him to cut back on how much he will have to move during a match.
“Serving didn’t used to be one of my strengths,” Therp said. “But since I’m limited in my movement now, it was one of the things I’ve been working on a lot. Now, it’s turned into one of my strengths. It’s helping me in getting free points, which is important when you can’t run around as much.”
Therp’s serve and Hohenstein’s continued success will prove vital as UCSB travels to Texas next weekend to take on the second best team in the nation in their indoor tournament.
“Texas is ranked number two in the country, so they’re definitely some of the best of college tennis,” Therp said. “But I’ve played against the best before, and if my serve is there, I’ll do fine. We’re a young team, so the most important thing is that we get that kind of experience against a really good team.”
That experience will come as UCSB goes on the road for three straight weekends, beginning with its first appearance in the NCAA National Team Indoors in Texas this Saturday.