UCSB men’s tennis righted its sails with a 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount Sunday at the Recreation Center courts, ending a six-match skid while clinching the No. 4 seed in the Big West Tournament.
[media-credit name=”Kenneth Song” align=”alignleft” width=”202″][/media-credit] The Gauchos split their matches this weekend, losing a close match against rival No. 40 Cal Poly 4-3 on Saturday before finally closing out their season with a victory on Senior Day against Loyola.
Part of UCSB’s downfall against Cal Poly was losing the doubles point with the No. 2 and No. 3 matches, which played a major role in the six-match losing streak.
“We gotta hold the serves,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We’ve played the return game really well but we are struggling to hold on our serves at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. And that’s been a problem for us all season, so we’re going to continue to work on serves. Luckily, we have a couple weeks to make some improvement there as it’s our biggest liability.”
The doubles point was lost despite the strong ongoing play of No. 1 pair Alex Konigsfeldt and Taylor Chavez-Goggin, who won both of their matches this weekend, including an upset over Cal Poly’s No. 41 doubles squad of Andre Dome and Alexander Sonesson.
“They played really, really well,” Davis said. “Especially Konigsfeldt all around, who only lost two games yesterday and two games today. That’s two days in a row he’s been really, really good.”
Mathieu Forget won for the eighth consecutive time in singles matches at home at No. 3 singles against Cal Poly and at No. 4 against Loyola. On Saturday, Phillip Therp was the only other Gaucho to win in singles beside Konigsfeldt and Forget, beating Cal Poly’s Sebastian Bell in a tiebreaker in the third set.
Sunday, the Gauchos also received singles wins from Benjamin Recknagel at No. 2, Taylor Chavez Goggin at No. 4 and Max Glenn at No. 5. Recknagel’s win clinched the match by giving the Gauchos the fourth point, recovering from a loss to Cal Poly’s Dome, who was ranked No. 97 in the nation in singles.
“It feels really good,” Recknagel said of his victory. “It’s a really great feeling. Playing [players like Dome] throughout the season, you get used to playing a lot of really good players. I’m playing fine, Dome played really well yesterday and had a great day.”
The win over Loyola gives UCSB some desperately needed momentum heading into the Big West tournament, as they will most likely face UC Davis in the first round.
“It’s going to help a lot,” Konigsfeldt said. “It’s a big confidence booster, to go in well-prepared and be in a good fitness level and winning my last four matches. We’re going to have to start taking the doubles point, because our three matches against Irvine, Cal Poly and Pacific have been 4-3 losses and we’ve lost the doubles point in each match. So if we win the doubles we obviously would have won those matches.”
The Big West Tournament begins next Friday, April 29 in Palm Springs, as the Gauchos look to repeat their last match against 6-0 victory against Davis.