Over the weekend, the UCSB men’s tennis team traveled up north to Fresno to compete in the Bulldog Classic, a three-day tournament held at Fresno State University. The Gauchos sent six players to compete in the season’s opening tournament who split into two flights.
Junior Mathieu Forget lost a heartbreaker for the Gauchos in the A Flight, but Santa Barbara sent three players to the semifinals in the B flight — two of whom moved on to the finals.
Heading into the first day of the tournament on Friday, UCSB’s A Flight consisted of Forget and senior Taylor Chavez-Goggin. Chavez-Goggin faced off with UC Berkeley in the first round of the tournament, and came away with a win after three sets. In the second round he was not so fortunate, losing to Fresno State two sets to one.
“[Taylor] actually had a great chance in that match,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “He won the first set and was up in the second set, but was broken there and just kind of lost it after that. Guys can’t catch up with his fastball in the first set, but kind of pick up on it in the second set.”
Forget also had a disappointing tournament. After making it to the semifinals, his match came down to two match points, at 40-15 and at 40-30 in the third set. Forget dropped both points and his opponent, Jean-Charles Diame of Fresno State, took the match on the tiebreaker point and knocked Forget out of the tournament.
“[Mathieu] had the guy on the ropes,” Davis said. “[He] had two chances to win it. On the first one the guy hit a spectacular drop shot. The guy basically gambled on the two match points and came up big. In the tiebreaker [he] played a couple of nervous points, and when he lost the tiebreaker you could definitely see a drop in energy.”
In the Gauchos’ B Flight, three Gauchos — freshmen Adam Luba and Axel Bouillin and senior Evan Jurgensen — made it to the semifinals.
“I think [our success came from] fitness,” Davis added. “It was really hot. The on court temp was probably well over 100. They were on course most of the day.”
Because only four players move on to the semifinal round, Boullin and Luba squared off against each other in what Davis called a “very competitive” match. Boullin won in three sets and earned a spot in the finals. In the other semifinal match, Jurgensen faced off against Jurgen De Jager of Cal Poly. Jurgensen won the first set 6-4, but then dropped the second set 4-6. In the third set Jurgensen reached deep into the tank and managed take the set 7-5. According to Davis, Jurgensen’s superior fitness allowed him to win the match and move on to and all-Gaucho final that will be played at UCSB at 3:15 p.m. today.
“It’s two Gauchos in the finals, so I’ll be an innocent bystander,” Davis said.
UCSB’s three doubles teams were all eliminated in the second round.
“It was a good tournament because everyone won at least one match, and the freshmen got some wins too, so that was really positive for them,” Davis said.
After Monday’s match the Gauchos will be off until Oct. 21, when they will travel to Irvine to compete in the six-day long ITA Regionals.