With its back against the wall, the UCSB men’s tennis team rebounded to slam Big West rival UC Irvine despite falling behind early. Even though the Anteaters swept the doubles matches, the Gauchos still emerged victorious with a 4-3 win at Anteater Tennis Stadium.
“I don’ think it affected us too much. We haven’t had too much success at doubles so far, so we’re getting used to relying on singles,” junior Matthew Coin said.
Santa Barbara clinched the victory by taking four out of the six singles matches. Junior #1 singles Alex Anselme defeated his Irvine counterpart despite dropping the first set 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Three out of the six singles matches were forced into a decisive third tiebreaker set. Freshman #4 singles Elad Stern also won in the third set by defeating junior Ry Kashiwabara 6-4, 4-6, 5-3. Other victories for the Gauchos included #2 sophomore Nicholas Brotman, who won a close match against junior Brian Morton 7-6, 7-6; and #6 Coin, who slammed anteater opponent, freshman Mustafa Ulukan 6-4, 7-5.
The Gauchos humbled Irvine to 6-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big West.
“It felt great; I’ve never experienced anything like it. This rivalry is so intense, it was awesome,” Coin said.
The victory upped the Gauchos record to 4-4 overall, and 2-0 in the Big West.
“It was nice to see everyone so happy,” senior Mike Placek said. “It was a huge boost going into our next match against Pacific.”
UCSB travels to La Jolla this weekend to compete in the Pacific Coast Doubles Tournament. They host Ivy League opponent Yale on March 11 before resuming Big West play against Utah State on March 12.