After a pair of losses last weekend, the No. 62 UCSB men’s tennis team bounced back with a 5-2 win at No. 55 UC Irvine yesterday and a 4-3 win over SMU on Saturday. Santa Barbara improves to 6-4 overall and 1-0 in the Big West. In other action, the No. 65 women’s team finished its long weekend with a 7-0 loss at Santa Clara yesterday after beating San Francisco 4-3 on Sunday and losing at No. 36 St. Mary’s on Saturday 6-1.
“We’re feeling great; it was kind of a must-win situation for us [this weekend],” freshman Greg Scott said. “Now we’re confident that we’re gonna win the Big West … we know we can beat any team we play.”
The Anteaters (1-5, 0-1) took the doubles point by winning at the No. 1 and 2 courts, but the Gauchos almost swept the singles matches, only losing at No. 3 in three sets.
“It’s good to start conference with a win; this gives us a little momentum,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “Ziad Sultan was really good again [winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 6], he’s on fire … [Mathieu] Forget played great at No. 1 as well.”
Saturday’s dramatic match against SMU (3-3) was ultimately decided between Mischa Nowicki and Scott. After dropping the doubles point, the Gauchos took three of the first five singles matches to finish, all of which were decided in just two sets, leaving No. 3 singles to break the tie. After Scott took the first set 7-5, Nowicki won the second by the same score, but Scott rallied for a 6-3 win in front of the home crowd.
“The last set I was just trying to hang tough … I was just trying to survive out there to be honest,” Scott said.
Sultan was dominant in the No. 6 position, winning 6-0, 6-0; Forget won No. 1 6-2, 6-4; and junior Mbonisi Ndimande won No. 5 6-2, 6-0.
“We can take away a little bit of confidence … you can definitely tell we have some heart on this team,” Davis said. “I was really disappointed with the doubles, [but] the guys are pretty good with moving on.”
UCSB returns home on Saturday for another conference duel, against UC Davis at 1 p.m.
The UCSB women’s tennis squad (2-6) was swept for the only time this season at Santa Clara (6-2) after starting well with an 8-6 win at No.1 doubles by senior Jordan Dockendorf and sophomore Kiersten Meehan before losing at the No. 2 and 3 courts. Freshman April Scatliffe forced a tiebreaker in No. 3 singles before falling 3-6, 6-3, 8-10, but the Gauchos were unable to force a third set in the other matches.
At San Francisco (1-4), Santa Barbara was able to come back after barely dropping the doubles point to take four of the six singles matches for its first road win of the year as Dockendorf clinched the victory in the No. 6 spot with a 7-6 (4), 6-2 score. Senior Natalia Lozano (No. 1) and Scatliffe (No. 4) were also able to overcome first set losses to win in three sets, while Meehan won 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3.
As for St. Mary’s (3-2), sophomore Paola Cos picked up the only point for the Gauchos in the No. 5 spot 6-7, 6-3, 10-6. Next up for UCSB is another match away from home, Thursday at USC at 1:30 p.m.