The UCSB men’s tennis team takes on two California opponents this upcoming weekend at it travels south to San Diego State and UC Riverside.
The Gauchos enter this weekend’s games at 6-11 overall and 1-0 in the Big West. San Diego State currently sits at 8-9 overall and 3-0 in conference while Riverside has struggled at 2-17 overall and 0-2 in league play.
The Gauchos are coming off a rough stretch where they have lost three of their last four matches since March 11. Last weekend, the team lost to No. 19 Boise State 6-1 and University of San Francisco 4-3 to cap off a losing spring break. The Gauchos hope to turn around their season before the end of season Big West Tournament April 24-27.
“With the wind playing a factor this week during our afternoon practices, we’ve had a lot of time to focus on building our fitness,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We may not be the most skilled team, but I can assure you we will be the fittest team in the Big West.”
The Gauchos hope to see junior No. 1 singles player Tobias Galskov get back on track after losing his last two singles matches [[ok]]. He and freshman Teague Hamilton have been the most successful Gauchos on the courts this year.
“Toby lost a couple matches last weekend, but he battled hard,” Davis said. “I expect him to bounce back and lead our team against San Diego and Riverside.”
San Diego State is led by junior Thorsten Bertsch in the No. 1 singles position. He is 13-11 overall this season.
He will be joined by freshman Jonas Meinzer in the No. 3 doubles slot while senior Hunter Nicholas and junior Andranik Khachatryan play No. 1 doubles and sophomore Freddy Gelbrich and freshman Hendrik Jebens make up the duo playing No. 2.
The Aztecs are on a skid as well, having lost six of their last eight matches, most recently to No. 2 USC 7-0 on March 25, so the Aztecs will be determined to defend their home court.
“San Diego State is a tough team and we have had some battles the last couple years with two heartbreaking 4-3 losses coming down to the last matches,” Davis said. “We hope to turn it around this weekend and get the win before focusing on conference play.”
On Sunday, the Gauchos travel to UC Riverside to take on the Highlanders. UCR has lost its last two matches to Richmond and Army and will play Azusa Pacific in Azusa on Saturday before returning home to host the Gauchos. The Highlanders do not possess a senior on their team and are led by junior Luis Gastao playing in the No. 1 position. Following Gastao will be freshman Cooper Bridge and his team-leading 8-9 record as well as sophomore Marcus Vizcarra and junior Sean Yun.
“The match against Riverside is a must-win for us,” Davis said. “We need to secure a good seed for the end of season tournament so we can reach our goal of making it to the NCAA tournament at the end of the year.”
This is a conference match and one the Gauchos will want to win in order to secure a higher seed at the end of season tournament. The Gauchos have two more league matches remaining after this weekend and will look to end the season on a strong note.
The match in San Diego begins at 11 a.m. and Sunday’s match in Riverside starts at 1 p.m. as the Gauchos hope to start a winning streak to take them towards the end of the season.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of the Daily Nexus.