It was a perfect day for the UCSB men’s tennis team on Thursday. The team was focused, the weather was beautiful and they played amazing tennis.
In a preseason match against Westmont College, the Gauchos showed early on why they were back-to-back Big West champions. The contest was the first preseason match for both teams, and both looked eager to see what their teams would look like in the upcoming season.
Westmont came out ready and eager to play but couldn’t compete early with the strong doubles teams that UCSB has to offer. Sophomore Nick Brotman and freshman Nick Edlefsen led the Gauchos with a smashing victory against top-ranked Westmont players.
“This is the deepest team I have coached here, so we’re very strong top to bottom, and I think we’re going to present a challenge to almost any team that we play,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We’re strong all the way down to five or six in the lineup.”
The Gauchos posed many problems for the Westmont Warriors during the doubles match. Santa Barbara placed a variety of players together to see what type of pairs worked best. Freshman Elad Stern was placed with junior Leo Basica to see how their chemistry would work out.
“Traditionally, doubles has been a real strength for us, but right now, since it is the first match of the season, we’re experimenting with doubles matches,” Davis said. “At this stage, we’re trying to see what doubles combinations are going to work best for us.”
The Gauchos are ranked 64th in the nation and are trying to win their third Big West Championship in a row. The team feels focused behind Davis and has worked extremely hard in the offseason to make up for players lost from last year’s roster.
“We’re trying to threepeat. This year will be a real challenge because Pacific returns its top four players, who we played in the conference final last year,” Davis said. “Irvine looks much improved as well, and when it comes April, I feel that we will be playing some very good tennis.”
The UCSB men’s tennis team next travels to Malibu, Calif., on Jan. 21 to take on the #27 Pepperdine Waves.