UCSB men’s tennis returns once more as the final postseason bout is soon to be underway. The annual NCAA Division 1 Men’s Tennis Doubles Championship will be held this week, during which the Santa Barbara duo of junior Simon Freund and senior Morgan Mays are set to face off against Florida’s freshman Johannes Ingildsen and sophomore Alfredo Perez.
The Santa Barbara tandem claimed a participant spot in this bracket-style competition following their No. 35 placement in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s doubles standings. Gauchos Freund and Mays played at the primary court 1 position for practically the entire season and are the only ones representing UCSB this far into the postseason.
When playing side by side as the unanimous starting court 1, the star duo ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation. They helped their team achieve its historic, record-breaking 19-6 season overall and ended up leading their team to a Big West conference league and playoff sweep. With their last defeat coming all the way back on April 10 versus UC Davis, this pair has proven time and time again that they’re able to compete at an elite level.
On a specifically top-10 basis, Freund and Mays have gone 2-0. This results from their Jan. 21 victory against UCLA’s No. 3 junior Martin Redlicki and freshman Evan Zhu by a score of 6-3 as well as a 5-3 unfinished win in their Feb. 26 showing versus Cal Berkeley’s No. 5 seniors Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat. Each pair is still a future potential opponent as they will all be present in the 2017 NCAA Doubles Championship.
As for Florida’s duo, they are more accurately ranked in the No. 2 spot on ITA national rankings, which is especially impressive because Perez is merely a sophomore and Ingildsen just a freshman. The two, however, have played as well as any seasoned college vets, as they aided their team to a 19-10 record this season.
Following behind these two, Florida has managed stellar postseasons with both a semifinal appearance in the competitive SEC conference playoffs and a Round of 16 finish in the NCAA Tennis Tournament, where they lost to Virginia. Virginia later went on to become the champions of the competition.
The Gauchos, Freund, and Mays have been key contributors to their team’s success as they boosted and influenced their peers’ morale early on in dual meets all season long.
“The doubles point is always so huge,” Head Coach Marty Davis previously said in an interview. “It’s the first point of the match, and emotionally it’s always a huge impact on the rest of the meet.”
Freund and Mays will be alone together out there on the court this week, but they’ll be supported by their shared experience playing together and as a product of their previous successes.
The Round of 32 for the NCAA Doubles Championship is set to take place May 25 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex at the University of Georgia. The winner, either UCSB or Florida, will then face off against either Baylor or Rice the following day.