The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships, a tournament featuring everybody with rank and name among the collegiate tennis genus, witnessed an inconsistent UCSB men’s tennis team.
Three out of the top four netters in this year’s lineup were battling for kudos in the pre-qualifying draw of 256 players with varying success.
Half of the gang was forced to leave the battleground early. UCSB junior Mike Placek from San Diego lost to Daniel Pinchbeck of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by the score of 4-6, 1-6, while sophomore sensation Alex Anselme was defeated by Louisiana State’s Rafael Corazza by a close 6-7, 4-6.
With two early exits, it was up to freshman Mirco Schwindt and senior Carlos Palencia to pull the chestnuts out of the fire for UCSB. Schwindt, a freshman from Germany, enjoyed another strong showing and continued to make a name for himself as a top college player. After winning the first round easily, Schwindt came up with two remarkable wins, beating Indiana State’s Henry Choi 6-2, 7-6 and fending off Wake Forest’s Mike Murray 7-5, 6-2, before falling to Loyola Marymount’s number one player 2-6, 5-7.
“It was an incredible experience for me to compete well for UCSB among such a high quality field, but I am already looking forward to the regionals at Malibu next week,” Schwindt said. “In order to get [nationally] ranked, you need to beat ranked players; and this is exactly what I am going to do [at the regionals].”
Schwindt was not the only Gaucho to play well at the All-American Championships. As a result of his #40 national ranking, Palencia, a native of Cordoba, Mexico, received an automatic bid to the main draw of the tournament. Losing the first set by a close 5-7, Palencia fell to Illinois’ Phil Stolt, before handily beating Oregon’s Swiss #1 player Manuel Kost by a score of 6-3, 6-4.
“I played really well in my match against [Kost],” Palencia said. “It feels good to beat a top PAC Ten player. The fact that I beat him indoors gives me a lot of confidence for our dual match [against the Ducks].”
“Overall, the quality of tennis was good for this time of the year,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “Carlos [Palencia] and Mirco [Schwindt] did a lot of things right.”
The players not competing in the All-American Championship left Wednesday for a tournament in San Diego. Gaucho freshmen Kyle Brotman and Michael Frick will get their first chance to earn laurels at UCSB.