The No. 60 UCSB men’s tennis team grabbed its first conference victory of the season yesterday with a 6-1 win over a visiting Hawaii, at home.
This win puts the Gauchos at an overall record of 8-7 and a conference record of 1-1.
This victory over Hawaii makes the Gauchos a perfect 6-0 at home and puts them over the .500 mark for the first time this season. They have now won five of their last six, with the only loss coming to No. 41 Denver by a close score.
“The energy has really picked up lately for this team since our road trip over break,” junior Nathan Eshmade said. “We were really able to gel as a team and when we’re on the court, we always pick each other up and get each other going.”
The Gauchos started off the match dominating in doubles play. Eshmade and sophomore Erik Johnsson were the first to finish as they defeated their opponents 6-1 on the number one court. Sophomore Morgan Mays and junior Andrew Riminton were the next to finish and took a one-sided victory as well at 6-2. This gave the Gauchos a 1-0 advantage heading into singles play.
In singles play, freshman Cody Rakela continued his undefeated home streak taking the win in straight sets of 6-1, 6-1. Rakela is now 6-0 when playing at home, and his victory put the team up 2-0 on court four with five more matches to be played.
Sophomore Teague Hamilton was the next to finish, playing on the sixth-ranked court. He, too, earned a victory in straight sets by scores of 6-3 and 6-4, which put UCSB up 3-0 and just one match away from sealing the victory.
“The top of our lineup has been playing so much better recently, and this team is extremely deep this year,” Hamilton said. “Nathan has been playing amazing, Cody hasn’t lost a match and Morgan has been playing really well, too. All of our spots are really solid.”
The players Hamilton spoke highly of did not disappoint, as they all were able to grab victories. Hawaii was only able to take one match away from the Gauchos.
Eshmade sealed the victory on court two to give the Gauchos a 4-1 victory with more tennis to be played. He defeated his opponent in straight sets of 6-3, 6-3 to continue his successful season.
Mays and Johnsson took straight set victories as well to finish off the match and give the Gauchos a 6-1 victory. Since coming up to a starting position in early March, Johnsson has won every singles match and has helped the team to many doubles wins.
The Gauchos will prepare for the weekend ahead of them with matches on Saturday and Sunday. They will host both New Mexico State Saturday and conference opponent UC Riverside Sunday to conclude this home stand.
“I am very confident about this weekend,” Hamilton said. “It won’t be a walk in the park, but it’s a good opportunity to extend our home streak and conference record.”
The New Mexico match begins at 1 p.m. and the UC Riverside match starts at 10 a.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 15 of April 2, 2015’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.