The UCSB men’s tennis team fell victim to the rain as well as to #53 University of San Diego on Saturday, losing a hard fought match 4-2.
Though Santa Barbara played nationally ranked San Diego very tough, it was unable to come through with a victory. However, several Gauchos did have excellent individual performances.
Junior co-captain Marcin Kosakowski continued his superb play Saturday, beating San Diego’s top player, senior Mattias Tangefjord, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Kosakowski has now won five of his last six singles matches.
“I’ve been serving really well recently,” Kosakowski said. “It’s given me a lot more confidence, and I’ve been playing a lot better.”
Kosakowski and sophomore J.J. Stewart have also been playing extremely well as a doubles duo. The two have won nine of their last 12 doubles matches, and they defeated San Diego junior Juan Cerda and Tangefjord on Saturday, 8-6.
“[Stewart and I] weren’t clicking early in the season,” Kosakowski said. “But we’ve really gelled since, and we’ve got a lot more confidence.”
Senior David Angert also played well Saturday, defeating San Diego junior Steve Taylor in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.
UCSB freshman Alex Yaftali’s singles match against San Diego freshman Jason Pongsrikal was done in by the rain on Saturday. Yaftali narrowly lost the first set 7-6 before play was stopped early in the second set because of rain. The match was canceled and will not be rescheduled.
“The weather was looking kind of shaky,” Yaftali said. “The match had already been decided, and the coaches wanted to get home, so we just decided to stop.”
In other singles play, Stewart lost to San Diego junior Ricardo Rizo in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0. Santa Barbara sophomore Michael Faust didn’t fare much better, falling to Cerda 6-4, 6-2. UCSB junior co-captain Marcio Pepe lost to San Diego senior Ross Bourne in two sets, 6-3, 6-4. Pepe and Yaftali lost to Rizo and San Diego junior Ted Burghart in doubles play 8-3. Faust and freshman Jerome Chan were defeated by Bourne and Taylor in their doubles match-up 8-2.
“I guess going in we were feeling confident,” Faust said. “But [San Diego] is a good team. It was fun playing, but the rain wasn’t good. I guess [San Diego] had to deal with the rain too, but it made it tough.”
Up next for the Gauchos is a crucial Big West Conference match-up against Irvine this Friday. Over the years, Santa Barbara and Irvine have developed a heated rivalry. This upcoming game is significant because the outcome will have a direct effect on the Gauchos seed in the Big West Tournament.
“[San Diego] left a sour taste in our mouths,” Kosakowski said. “We need to win against Irvine, especially with the tournament coming. We haven’t had too much success against [UCI] in the past, but we’re confident.”