If home is where the heart is, the UCSB men’s tennis team has relocated its steady heartbeat to the friendly RecCen Courts.
The Gauchos pummeled Central Coast rival Cal Poly at home on Wednesday afternoon 7-0 in an unusual mid-week match. Santa Barbara won all three doubles matches to secure the all-important doubles point and then went to work at the singles, sweeping the Mustangs in all six matches.
The Gauchos now post a 9-8 overall mark and a 2-1 record in the Big West Cconference.
UCSB found inspiration from senior Carlos Palencia. The 2002 Big West Player of the Year carried the Gauchos by devastating competition at both #1 singles and #1 doubles. Teamed with freshman Mirco Schwindt, the probable 2003 Big West Player of the Year dropped freshman BrettVan Linge and sophomore DaveyJones 9-8 to help garner the doubles point. At #1 singles, the senior from Mexico demolished Cal Poly junior Stacy Meronoff 6-2, 6-1.
“We certainly have the best player in the country in Carlos Palencia,” junior #3 singles and #2 doubles Mike Placek said. “But our energy has been in the entire team. It was great to rebound after a tough weekend loss to Pacific.”
Last weekend, the Gauchos failed to convert in several singles and doubles positions to accumulate enough points to beat either Pacific or Fresno State. Santa Barbara dropped 5-2 matches to the Tigers on Saturday and the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.
On Wednesday though, UCSB netted victories from top to bottom. Placek easily won the #4 singles match 6-1, 6-0 while sophomore Alex Anselme squeaked out a victory at the #5 spot 7-5, 6-3.
The Gauchos have one Big West dual match left on the schedule as they host Riverside on April 13. After its match with the Highlanders, Santa Barbara participates in four more dual meets before traveling to Danville, Calif., for the much-anticipated 2003 Big West Tennis Championships held April 25-27.
“I think we are pretty confident right now,” Placek said. “This home game was the beginning of plenty good things to come, I bet.”