The UCSB men’s tennis team swept past Idaho and the University of the Pacific to clinch the 2002 Big West Conference Championship. The Gauchos emphatically destroyed the Tigers 4-0 at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club on Saturday.
Senior co-captain Marcin Kosakowski, the number one doubles player and number two singles player for Santa Barbara, captured the tournament MVP award for his play over the weekend. Kosakowski defeated UOP’s Junaid Hossaine by a score of 6-3, 7-5. In Santa Barbara’s semifinal match against Idaho on Friday, Kosakowski also easily won his match. Paired with junior Carlos Palencia, the duo garnered the number one double point in both days.
“It was huge for us to win the Big West Tournament Championship,” Palencia said. “I think we improved a lot this season and that was our goal at the beginning of the year.”
No. 3 Pacific, the defending tournament champions, eked past No. 2 Irvine in its semifinal match by a score of 4-2 on Friday to earn a spot in the championship round.
The Gauchos will now prepare for the NCAA Regionals, which begin in two weeks. While Santa Barbara will likely draw a seed that will pair it with one of the top teams in the country, the Gauchos look at the challenge as just another match on the now extended schedule.
“Although we are going to play a top seed in the first round, we are going to try as hard as we can and put a fight until the very end,” sophomore singles player Mike Placek said. “We are capable of beating anybody.”
The Gauchos swept through this weekend’s tournament to bring home the trophy. UCSB defeated the Vandals 4-0 in Friday’s semifinal match, highlighted by Palencia’s 6-4, 6-3 stomping of Idaho’s number one singles player Eddie Brisbois.
In the championship match, Kosakowski defeated Junaid Hossaine by a score of 6-3, 7-5 to capture a point for the Gauchos. Kosakowski tallied four points for the Gauchos in two days, to take home the Constance R. Wash MVP trophy.
“Marcin was serving really well,” Palencia said. “His ball was heavy so his opponent didn’t have much of a chance against him.”
Earning its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, Santa Barbara improved its record to 14-9 on the season. This year’s Big West Championship is the Gauchos first since 1998 and it is UCSB Head Coach Marty Davis’ first accolade in his three years at Santa Barbara.
“I think this year’s championship is a good sign for next year,” freshman and number four singles player Alex Anselme said. “We are pretty confident about everything.”