After a weekend full of matches and two practices this week, the UCSB men’s tennis team heads to beautiful Hawaii for some fun in the sun and some serious competition on the courts. The Gauchos leave on Thursday and take on Hawaii Pacific on Saturday, followed by their first conference match against Hawaii on Sunday.
When looking back on a victory over LMU on Saturday and loss to Arizona on Sunday, senior Sasha Gryaznov said, “Good win on Saturday, [we] clutched it out. Overall the team is getting better, I think. We are competing. I love seeing the guys compete hard, and then good things happen.”
The team will look to junior and No. 108 ranked Tobias Galskov to carry the team again this weekend. Playing in the number two slot in the lineup, Galskov won both of his matches last weekend, with his win against LMU sealing the match victory for the Gauchos. He is 3-2 in singles this season and hopes to extend his two-match win streak in Hawaii. Galskov was named Big West Men’s Athlete of the Week for last week’s performance.
Along with Galskov, the Gauchos will need junior Ziad Sultan to play his part. Playing in the number one slot this season, Sultan is in 2-3 and will be needed to win tough matches against top players on opposing teams as league play begins.
The Gauchos hope to improve their doubles play after losing every doubles match against LMU and Arizona.
“We were pitiful in the doubles. That’s ultimately what killed us,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We were terrible in the doubles both days, and we’ll need to win that point against University of Hawaii. We will definitely be focusing on doubles and serving.”
First up is Hawaii Pacific. The Sea Warriors are 1-0 this season with a 7-0 annihilation of Sacramento State on Jan. 16. Since then, the team has played in the Royal Lahaina Challenger Tournament and received plenty of practice for upcoming matches. Their top players will be sophomore Thibaud Berland, sophomore Jaume Martinez-Vich and junior Mattis Wetzel. Other players expected to play singles will be junior Yann Renault, senior Petr Michnev and freshman Aaron Machida.
Hawaii will be the Gaucho’s first conference battle. The team is 1-3 so far this season with a win over Sacramento State and losses to Stanford, UC Berkeley and Pacific. Playing in the top spot will be senior Jonathan Brooklyn who is 2-1 this season. Also battling the Gauchos will be junior Nils Schuhmann, who won his last match against Pacific, senior Danilo Casanova, senior David Schuster and juniors Chas Okamoto and Carter Lam. This match marks the beginning of league play for both teams, and they will both want to come out with a victory to begin their conference seasons.
The Gauchos play Hawaii Pacific on Saturday at noon, and the University of Hawaii on Sunday at 4 p.m., both times PST.
A version of this article appeared on page 7 of February 13, 2014′s print edition of The Daily Nexus.