A tough season for the UCSB men’s tennis team ended with a disheartening 6-1 loss Tuesday to Cal Poly in the season finale.
On the year, the Gauchos finished with a 5-15 team record. Though the regular season was somewhat of a disappointment for Santa Barbara, the team remains positive in its hopes of capturing a Big West title by playing well in the conference tournament next week. UCSB will likely face the Mustangs again in the first round of tournament play, and if so, the Gauchos will be looking for revenge and redemption.
“It’s been a hard year,” senior David Angert said. “We’ve had lots of tough matches. The bunch of losses did bring us down, but I think they also motivated us to work hard. I think it’s made us better as a team.”
The highlight of the match for Santa Barbara on Tuesday was the strong singles play of junior co-captain Marcio Pepe. In a dominating performance, Pepe soundly defeated Cal Poly junior Erin Carroll in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
“I was very pumped up and focused,” Pepe said. “I played very aggressively. I used my serve and my forehand really well.”
Junior co-captain Marcin Kosakowski and sophomore J.J. Stewart continued their excellent play in doubles action. The duo defeated Carroll and senior Brandon Fallon in a tight match 9-8, in the fourth tiebreaker.
“We served really well,” Kosakowski said. “We had some really nice returns, too.”
In other doubles action, Pepe and freshman Alex Yaftali lost to Mustang freshmen Mike Marquez and Nick Carless, 8-6. Sophomore Mike Faust and freshman Jerome Chan came up short against Cal Poly sophomore Brian Kent and freshman Nick Tracy.
In singles play, Kosakowski lost a close match to Fallon in straight sets, 7-5, 7-5. Stewart was defeated by Kent in two sets, 6-3, 6-3. Yaftali played a good match against Carless, but came up short, losing in three sets, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6. Angert fought hard against Tracy, but lost the matchup in three sets, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6. Chan started strong against Marquez, but ended up losing, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
“We’re very angry about [Cal Poly],” Pepe said. “But at the same time we’re getting pumped up to play them again in the [Big West Tournament]. We’ll fix what went wrong and next time we’ll come out with more spirit and more energy.”
Despite their recent setback against Cal Poly, the Gauchos remain confident in their ability to play good tennis. The difficult schedule UCSB played this season should prove to be an advantage for the team in the Big West Tournament.
Tuesday was also marked the last home match for David Angert, the lone senior on this year’s team. Though Angert is sad to leave, he will remember his years at UCSB fondly.
“It’s really different to play four years and then play your last home match,” Angert said. “It hits pretty hard. I couldn’t have asked for any better though. It’s been so much fun for me, the guys on the team and my friends. The traveling and the games were great; that’s what I love to do.”