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Sports >> Tennis
The UCSB men’s tennis team is looking forward to taking over the Big West next year with its haul of recruits coming in to bolster a talented team. There will be six new Gauchos competing on the courts come next fall, all of whom are exciting talents who will hope to impress and make an impact the moment they enter Santa Barbara.
The six Gauchos joining UCSB’s squad consist of four incoming freshmen and two transfer students. Andy Huang, Chase Masciorini and Cody Rakela, all of whom are natives of Northern California, as well as
Alexandre Gueganic from France, will be experiencing their first taste of college tennis. Transfers Nathan Eshmade and Morgan Mays hope to use their experience to make immediate impacts with the team. Coach
Marty Davis spoke very highly of his recruiting class and is looking forward to an improved squad while only losing graduating senior Sasha Gryaznov.
“I expect them to come into our team and to compete,” Davis said. “I’m excited for what each of these guys brings to the team.”
The Gauchos’ top recruit is Eshmade. He is originally from Australia, but played at Cerritos Community College for the past two seasons, compiling a 47-2 overall record, including an unbeaten 22-0 mark this season.
He was the first player in nine years to win the Junior College Singles and Double State Championships in the same year. Eshmade follows star Gaucho junior Tobias Galskov as a transfer from the junior college ranks where Galskov won the Junior College State Singles Championship in 2012.
“Nathan is an aggressive-style player who we hope to see big things from,” Davis said. “Transitioning from junior college to practice with our D-1 team will make him a better player, and I expect him to ‘blossom’ into a great player and have an impact on dual matches next season.”
Mays is also a transfer recruit from Wake Forest University. The Malibu native returns to his home state to compete for UCSB after playing at the No. 5 and No. 6 spots his freshman year and then redshirting his sophomore year. This gives him three more years of eligibility with the Gauchos, and with his experience playing with the No. 19 Demon Deacons, Mays will hope to also play his way into the upper half of the lineup next season.
“Morgan has been playing in a good program the last couple of years, and I expect him to do well for us,” said Davis. “His lack of match experience this past year might hurt him, but I feel he has something to prove and will be able to continue to develop with us.”
The three incoming freshmen from Northern California are all four-star recruits. Huang played at American High School in Fremont and garnered interest from Stanford, Cal and USC.
“Andy plays a big game,” Davis said. “He hits the ball hard, and I think that will translate well to D-1 tennis.”
Masciorini comes from Dana Point and had a 23-12 record in high school. He is ranked No. 21 in California for recruits and, this year, he won the Boys 18’s USTA Regional in both singles and doubles in Hawaii and came in third in doubles at the USTA Regional in Tucson, Arizona.
Rakela is currently ranked No. 16 in California and No. 97 nationally. He played for Scotts Valley High School, and, in juniors play, he reached the singles final at the Boys 18’s Johnson Ranch Jr. Championships.
Gueganic hails from Boulogne-Billancourt, France and earned a national ranking of No. 20 in under 18’s. He plays aggressively and hopes to make the starting lineup next season.
“I’m looking forward to a much, much, much better season. ” Davis said. “We look forward to hopefully bringing back the Big West trophy to the beach and also hope to be in the top 40 nationally.”
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of May 19, 2014th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Kenneth Song of the Daily Nexus.