Widely recognized as one of the oldest and most competitive collegiate tennis tournaments on the West Coast, the 46th Southern California Intercollegiate Tennis Championships witnessed a solid team performance by the UCSB men’s tennis team.
Six Gauchos participated in the main draw and three advanced to the quarterfinals. For Santa Barbara, the tournament was physically and mentally draining due to the variable weather conditions.
UCSB freshman and #5 seed Mirco Schwindt, from Germany, performed with the same consistency and relentless attacking that he has displayed ever since joining the Gauchos in the fall. In the first round, the Saarbruecken native toppled Pepperdine’s Kevin Borzenski in a hard-fought 4-6, 7-5, 7-6. In the round with 16 players remaining, Schwindt added another win to his record by disposing of the University of San Diego’s Jason Pongsrikul 7-6, 6-7, 10-7, before falling short in the ensuing match against UCLA’s Chris Lahm. Schwindt has tallied a record of 11-3 this fall.
“The delay helped me to get through my first match,” Schwindt said. “[Prior to the rain delay], I did not play that well but kept it close. When play resumed on Sunday, I kicked [Borzenski’s butt].”
UCSB sophomore Alex Anselme, a former #1 player in Southern California in the under-16 age group, extended his success from his recently strong play at the regionals by toppling the University of Southern California’s Daniel Langre, the fourth seed of the tournament. Langre, who was an instrumental part of USC’s run to the national title in the 2002 NCAA Championships, retired at 1-4 in the first set due to injury. In the round of 16 players, Anselme survived a ravaging stampede, beating Pepperdine’s Scott Doerner 3-6, 7-6, 11-9, before falling to the University of San Francisco’s Joachim Lien, a Swedish player who went through the qualifying draw by the score of 6-1, 6-3.
“I thought we competed well as a team,” Anselme said. “I am confident that we will carry the momentum throughout the upcoming season.”
After performing below his potential in the regionals two weeks ago, senior Carlos Palenica, last year’s Big West Player of the Year, consolidated his national top-50 ranking by showing a surge at the Championships. Palencia dispatched USC’s Parker Collins 7-6, 6-2, and dismantled USD’s Nic Beuque 6-1, 6-3, before dropping a three-set heartbreaker in third-round singles competition. The Cordoba, Mexico native, who was seeded third in the 32-player singles draw, fell to USF’s Johan Berg 4-6, 6-3, 2-10.
After a promising fall campaign, the Gauchos are expecting to earn even greater national recognition during the upcoming dual match season. The Gauchos welcome the Dons from San Francisco to their home turf on Jan. 25, 2003 to begin match play.