The UCSB men’s tennis team’s seven-match road trip did not end well in Texas this weekend, as the Gauchos lost to UT Arlington on Saturday and again to #61 SMU on Sunday. Both teams exploited the Gauchos’ weakness in doubles with wins at the second and third courts, as that point became the deciding factor in each match.
The losses put UCSB on a four-match losing streak while its overall record falls to 8-13.
Conditions in Texas were tough at best, with temperatures approaching 90 degrees, 60 to 80 percent humidity and constant 30 mph winds.
“The worst thing about it was the wind,” senior Mathieu Forget said. “There’s wind at our courts, but it blows a different way. It was really hard for both players on the court.”
UCSB tried switching up its doubles pairs at courts two and three to no avail, and has dropped the doubles point in each of the last four matches. Head Coach Marty Davis paired Forget with senior Phillip Therp on court two and sophomore Benjamin Recknagel with senior Evan Jurgensen at court three, but the changes could not prevent the Gauchos from going 0-4 in those slots over the weekend. The unchanged pair of seniors Taylor Chavez-Goggin and Alex Konigsfeldt at court one have been a bright spot throughout the season, and the two continued to prove that this weekend by winning both of their matches.
The Gauchos traveled to Dallas on Sunday for the match against SMU, and after dropping the doubles point once again, UCSB took the singles matches at courts one, two and six. The highlight was Recknagel, who overcame a 5-1 deficit in a third-set tiebreaker after suffering a case of nausea from the heat to win the tiebreak 8-6 and take the point.
“It all comes down to doubles,” Forget said. “We are going to try and figure it out. If we can get that doubles point, everything will be so much easier. We just need to work on it. It’s tough when you get that many losses in a row.”
UCSB wraps up its Big West season at home against Cal Poly next Saturday in a Blue-Green Rivalry match and follows that with a nonconference home game against Loyola Marymount on Sunday.