Coming from disappointing matches last weekend, the UCSB men’s tennis team rebounded and defeated No. 60 Fresno State 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at the RecCen courts.
Santa Barbara competed without sophomore Mike Placek, who missed the match due to a sore back. UCSB Head Coach Marty Davis looked to the bench for help, and the bench delivered.
Davis moved freshman Ilya Leshinsky into the No. 2 doubles and No. 6 singles spots. Leshinsky delivered by securing a win with fellow freshman Alex Anselme at No. 2 doubles. Leshinsky and Anselme’s win, coupled with an unbelievable come-from-behind victory at No. 1 doubles by junior Carlos Palencia and senior co-captain Marcin Kosakowski, was all that the Gauchos needed in order to secure their seventh consecutive doubles point in as many matches.
“We are very blessed to have a strong bench at the singles positions,” Davis said. “It was also a huge emotional swing to win the doubles point. We are very lucky that the No. 2 doubles combo played together a lot in the fall, so it was a comfortable pairing for both of them.”
Other Gauchos to win matches at the singles positions were No. 1 Palencia, No. 3 Anselme, and No. 5 sophomore Alex Yaftali.
Palencia, a junior from Cordoba, Mexico, has risen to a No. 62 national ranking in the latest Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings. Palencia looks to be in good position to qualify for the tourney with two matches left. Only 64 players are invited to the NCAA Tournament.
“The win was awesome,” senior Marcio Pepe said. “It was such a confidence builder for us to beat a big school like Fresno State. We have the best team chemistry I have ever seen in my seven years of team tennis.”