The UCSB men’s tennis team won its biggest match so far this year on Friday against conference opponent UC Davis 5-2.
With one match remaining against Cal Poly next weekend, the win gives the Gauchos an opportunity to enter the upcoming Big West Tournament as the No. 1 seed. The lowest seed Santa Barbara can potentially have is the third seed.
The Gauchos are now 8-12 overall and stay undefeated at 3-0 in conference play. The loss for the Aggies drops them to 13-10 and 2-3 in conference play.
Santa Barbara started the match strong, winning all three doubles matches to secure its third-straight doubles point in matches.
Juniors Tobias Galskov and Ziad Sultan defeated freshman Alec Adamson and sophomore Adam Levie at the top doubles spot 8-7 to increase their record playing together in dual matches to 7-2.
Freshman Erik Johnsson and junior Miles Seemann beat senior Parker Kelley and freshman James Wade 8-5 while at No. 3 doubles freshman Teague Hamilton and sophomore Andrew Riminton trounced sophomore Brett Bacharach and senior Adam Luba 8-5 as well.
“I thought overall our team played really well,” Hamilton said. “We got the doubles point, and that gave us a lot of momentum going into the singles.”
The Gauchos then put on a strong display in the singles matches. Galskov led the way at No. 1 with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Adamson while Sultan followed him at No. 2 with a win over Wade 6-1, 6-3.
The rest of the Gauchos played strong matches as Hamilton displayed a tenacious fire at the No. 5 spot over Kelley 6-0, 6-2 and Johnsson showed a ferocious effort against Bacharach, winning 6-1, 6-3.
“I thought I played really well. I thought I served well and that helped me a lot,” Hamilton said. “My best shot was my forehand, so I worked hard to get my body to the right spot in order to hit that shot as much as I could.”
The only negatives from the day were two matches that saw the Gauchos losing in third set tie-breakers.
As the match was already over with UCSB winning four singles matches and the doubles point, both senior Sasha Gryaznov and Seemann’s matches ended in ten point tie-breaks instead of complete third sets. Gryaznov lost 6-2, 2-6, (10-8) against senior Kyle Miller and Seemann went down against freshman Bryce McKelvie 7-5, 1-6 (13-11).
“I think this week we will be working on fitness a lot to get ready for Cal Poly and the Big West,” Hamilton said. “We really want to beat Cal Poly to get that No. 1 seed and ultimately get the bye [in the first round] so we don’t have to play as many matches.”
The match was also the last ever regualr season home match for Gryaznov, who was celebrated prior to singles play.
The Gauchos have a week of practice before heading to Cal Poly Saturday for their last regular season match. With a win, UCSB can take the No. 1 seed going into the Big West Tournament and thus enjoy a first-round bye.
The match is an extremely important step for the Gauchos on their way to hopefully making it to the NCAA tournament.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of April 14th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of the Daily Nexus.