VIENNA, Austria – You’re never as good you think you are when you win, and you are never as bad you think you are when you lose.
The UCSB men’s tennis team is feeling the same way after an up-and-down weekend in northern California.
After #4 California blew out Santa Barbara on Saturday, the Gauchos bounced back to defeat Santa Clara on Sunday. The win evened UCSB’s two-game weekend road swing and ended Santa Clara’s 13-game home winning streak.
Thanks to the heroic effort of freshman Nick Brotman, Santa Barbara avoided a 7-0 shutout against the Bears. The baseline magician from Canada, who held a top-10 national ranking in the Canadian under-18 national class, fought off sophomore Patrick Briaud 6-3, 2-6, 10-4. During the fall season Brotman struggled to stay healthy, but now he’s healthy and seems to have adjusted well to the competitive challenges of college tennis.
“Nick has a lot of confidence now that he is in the lineup, which is good for our team,” senior #1 singles player Carlos Palencia said.
Palencia, freshman #2 singles player Mirco Schwindt and sophomore #3 singles player Alex Anselme won only six games in six total sets in their matches combined. Cal’s #1 singles player and current #4 singles player in the country John Paul Fruttero proved why he is one of the best players in the nation. Fruttero was actually recruited to Cal by current UCSB Head Coach Marty Davis at the end of Davis’ coaching tenure at his alma mater, Berkeley.
The Gauchos bounced back on Sunday against the feisty Broncos, winning the doubles point and four of the six singles matches.
Palencia, Schwindt and Anselme posted victories after dropping matches the day before. Palencia handily defeated Santa Clara’s #1 singles player junior Erich Chen 6-3, 6-4, while the German native Schwindt easily disposed of senior Federico Mattioli by the score of 6-0, 6-1. Anselme celebrated a hard-fought 6-7, 7-6, 10-4 third-set tiebreaker victory while notched a convincing two-set victory over sophomore Ben Hidalgo. At #4 singles, junior Mike Placek, who was the only Gaucho besides Brotman to win a set against Cal, lost a two-set decision to the sophomore crafty leftie Taylor Bedilion.
“We felt really comfortable as a team [against Santa Clara],” Palencia said. “We handled the crowd pretty well. The mental part of the game was better than it used to be.”
With a 4-3 record in the early part of the season, the Gauchos are eagerly anticipating the upcoming dual matches against Oregon and Portland in Eugene, Ore. this weekend.
“The match against Portland will be tough because we travel to Eugene in the morning and play in the afternoon,” Palencia said. “Oregon has a solid lineup, but we are good enough to beat them.”