The UCSB men’s tennis team is off to an outstanding start, as the #63 team brings their 2-1 record into this weekend’s matches against Arizona State and the University of Arizona.

The team moved up one spot on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s national rankings last week with successful victories against Westmont and UC Riverside. The top 64 teams in the country will be qualified to compete in the NCAA Tournament in May. The Gauchos have been invited to participate in the NCAA championships for the past two years.

The UCSB men’s tennis team opened the 2004 Big West Conference season with a 6-1 victory over UC Riverside last week. The Gauchos began by winning their doubles matches without any effort, and moved on to take five of the six singles matches.

The men’s team is eager to compete against the #45-ranked Sun Devils on Friday, then travel to play against the #37 Wildcats on Sunday.

Arizona State will open this season’s challenging meet by hosting the Gauchos Friday at the Whiteman Tennis Center. The Sun Devils have five fresh new players on the squad, including 2002 NCAA double champion transfers Andy Colombo and Mark Kovacs. Arizona State has a record of 48-8 over the past five years. The Wildcats are piloted by top ace Tom Lloyd, who is currently ranked #84 in the nation.

UCSB will travel to the state of Washington next weekend for matches against the University of Washington and Portland. The Gauchos will be competing at home Feb. 20 and 22 against Oregon and Oklahoma State.