The UCSB men’s tennis team heads north this weekend for a formidable battle with two of its California rivals.
The Gauchos, fresh off a dominating 6-1 victory over #65 Texas Tech on March 28, will face University of the Pacific on Saturday and then travel slightly south to battle Fresno State on Sunday.
Santa Barbara (8-6) took care of the Red Raiders last week, as the Gauchos upset nearly all of the singles positions. Senior #1 singles Carlos Palencia outlasted Texas Tech star #1 singles Alfonso Perez 6-4, 7-5 to generate some early momentum. Teamed with freshman Mirco Schwindt, the 2002 Big West Player of the Year helped Santa Barbara generate the always-important doubles point. Palencia, 8-6 in 2003 at the #1 singles position, has recorded a 6-8 mark with Schwindt at #1 doubles.
Pacific enters its match with the Gauchos with a 13-5 overall record, including a 5-2 victory over the University of San Francisco on Sunday.
Fresno State is also on a hot streak. The Bulldogs (11-6) are riding their longest winning streak at four matches and five of their last six since the 2000-01 season. Fresno recently posted 4-3 wins over #58 Boise State and #59 Brigham Young University. In the two victories, junior Stefan Suta, a native of Germany, has compiled a perfect 4-0 record and should provide for honest competition for Palencia.
After this weekend’s matches, Santa Barbara returns to Campus Courts next Wednesday when it faces Cal Poly. The match against the Mustangs will kick off a well deserved four game homestand. After Sunday’s match, the Gauchos will have competed on the road for four straight contests.