The UCSB men’s tennis team got off to a rough start Tuesday losing to a tough Pepperdine team 7-0 in match play.
The Gauchos began strong while sophomore J.J. Stewart and junior co-captain Marcin Kosakowski won their doubles match early in the day. Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, the team failed to win another match against the Waves in either doubles or singles play. The game, however, was much closer than the score would indicate. Pepperdine won most of its matches by slim margins.
UCSB Head Coach Marty Davis believed the game against Pepperdine showed that the Gauchos can compete with the top tennis programs in the nation.
“I was glad to see our young team wasn’t intimidated,” Davis said.
Freshman Scott Schnugg gave a glimpse of future success in his first collegiate match. Schnugg soundly beat his opponent zero games to six games to win the first set. Schnugg’s momentum helped carry him to a match point opportunity in the second set at 3-5. However, Schnugg would go on to lose the second set 7-6 and lose the third set 6-4.
“It was pretty wild to be out there,” Schnugg said. “It was a learning experience.”
Another bright spot was the doubles play of Stewart and Kosakowski. The pair beat Pepperdine’s best doubles duo 8-6, and put the Gauchos ahead early with a one-game-to-none lead in doubles play.
After freshmen Mike Placek and Jerome Chan lost their doubles matchup, Schnugg and freshman Alex Yaftali’s doubles match became crucial. The Gauchos had to capture two of three doubles matches to receive the one point awarded. Though the game was very close, Schnugg and Yaftali would lose 9-7.
“We didn’t execute our game plan well enough,” Schnugg said. “We gave them too many opportunities.”
Junior co-captain Marcio Pepe lost a close singles match later in the day. Though he lost the first set 6-3, he played well in the second set before falling to a 7-6.
In other singles play, Stewart lost a difficult match, 6-1, 6-1. Kosakowski was defeated, 6-3, 6-3. Placek lost his match 6-3, 6-1, and Yaftali lost his match 6-2, 6-2.
“They pretty much outplayed us,” Placek said.
The Gauchos will face another tough opponent when they play #13 USC in Los Angeles next Tuesday. Davis believes that competing against the strongest teams will make Santa Barbara that much better.
“We’re pretty upset about what happened at Pepperdine,” Placek said. “We want to go out there and show them how well we can play.”