After forcing five matches to go into three sets, the No. 50 UCSB men’s tennis team ended up getting shut out against No. 37 Santa Clara yesterday, right after a tough 4-3 loss at No. 53 Cal Poly on Saturday. The Gauchos fall to 7-6 overall and 2-1 in the Big West, while Cal Poly improves to 7-3 (2-0) and Santa Clara improves to 10-3.
“It’s really frustrating because I definitely think we should have beaten both those teams,” senior Mathieu Forget said. “We just gotta keep our heads up and keep practicing harder if we wanna stay in the rankings.”
Against the Broncos, Santa Barbara fought back after losing the doubles point as freshmen Ziad Sultan and Greg Scott started with 6-1 and 6-4 set wins at the No. 6 and 4 courts respectively. However, both were unable to hold momentum and lost in three sets.
“Playing two days in a row is taxing, but that’s something we need to get ready for because we’re gonna play three matches in three days in the conference tournament,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “[Singles] were all dog fights; this was a close match: 7-0 on the scoreboard, but it didn’t feel like it.”
Junior Mbonisi Ndimande and freshman Axel Bouillin also went to three sets before falling 3-6, 6-3, 1-6 and 3-6, 6-4, 3-6. Forget came closest to earning a point but eventually lost 4-6, 6-4, 5-7 against nationally-ranked Kyle Dandan.
“It’s tough,” Forget said. “I had a tough match [against Cal Poly] but I would say not as physical as [against Santa Clara]. At the end my legs cramped a little bit, but it’s physical and mental and I just happened to lose mentally a bit, too.”
On Saturday, the Mustangs won their seventh in a row by splitting the singles matches after Santa Barbara once again dropped the doubles point. Bouillin and junior Alex Johnson won 8-7 on the No. 3 court, but Cal Poly took the other two to start with a 1-0 advantage.
After Bouillin (No. 5), Ndimande (No. 3), and Sultan (No. 6) posted wins to tie the match at 3-3, the deciding point came down to the No. 2 court, where Brian McPhee swept junior Benjamin Recknagel 6-4, 6-3.
UCSB’s next match is Sunday at 1 p.m. when it hosts Nevada.
The UCSB women’s tennis team also lost a tough conference match on Saturday, falling 4-3 at No. 54 UC Irvine for its first Big West loss. UCSB is now 4-9 overall and 2-1 in conference, as Irvine improves to 7-4 and 2-0 after also defeating Cal Poly 5-2 on Sunday. The Anteaters swept the doubles point to start off, but Santa Barbara kept the match close in singles play.
Freshman April Scatliffe won 6-1, 6-3; sophomore Paola Cos won 6-4, 6-4 and senior Jordan Dockendorf won 6-3, 7-6 (5) to sweep the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 courts.
However, seniors Natalia Lozano and Sofia Novak lost at No. 1 and No. 2, and Irvine’s Franziska Goettsching broke the 3-3 tie by defeating sophomore Kiersten Meehan 7-5, 7-6 (4) to clinch the victory.
Santa Barbara will now travel to take on San Diego State on Friday before returning home to play No. 69 Cal State Northridge on Sunday.