The No. 62 UCSB men’s tennis team hosts SMU tomorrow before traveling to No. 55 UC Irvine on Monday to take on the Anteaters in its first Big West match of the year. The Gauchos are 4-4 this year and 2-0 at home.
The team is hoping junior Benjamin Recknagel is at full strength against SMU (3-2), which defeated Santa Barbara 4-3 in Dallas last year. Recknagel lost in No. 1 singles at Oregon last week and then did not play in the loss at Washington due to a back injury.
“He’s practiced [since Wednesday] and we think he’s gonna be ready to go this weekend,” Head Coach Marty Davis said.
After the match, alumnus Wayne Bryan will receive the 2012 Distinguished Gaucho Award at the Corwin Pavilion and go into the UCSB Athletics Hall of Fame.
“There will be a few extra people in town and we’re hoping they make it a good crowd … we’re just excited about playing at home,” Davis said. “It’s gonna be close so we’re hoping having it at our house makes a difference. It’ll be a really fun day out there at the courts.”
Irvine, meanwhile, is 1-4 and has not played since Feb. 3, but won both of last year’s regular season meetings and then eliminated UCSB from last year’s Big West Tournament 4-1 en route to its second straight conference title.
“It’s a huge, huge match for us,” Davis said. “They’re a team that lost a couple seniors and for us to get off on right foot in conference is a big deal.”
Saturday’s match is set for 1 p.m. at the Rec Cen Courts and Monday’s is at 1 p.m. at Anteater Tennis Stadium.