When facing the UCSB men’s tennis team lately, Big West opponents have seemed to drop like flies.
Despite a hard-fought loss to Ivy League superpower Harvard on Friday, the Gauchos bounced back Saturday afternoon to win a pivotal Big West match with University of the Pacific 4-3.
The Gauchos started off by winning the doubles point, with victories from #1 seeded doubles players junior Alex Anselme and senior Mike Placek and #3 doubles players junior Matthew Coin and freshman Nicholas Edlefsen. Although they jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead when Placek won his singles match against #3 seeded Tiger Vladimir Zdravkovic (6-3, 6-3), Pacific eventually fought back to tie the score at 2-2. Freshman #4 seed Elad Stern defeated Tiger Niclas Otte (7-6, 3-6, 6-0) to clinch the win for the Gauchos at 4-2. Pacific won the last match of the day to split the singles points, but at that point the outcome had already been decided. The victory puts UCSB into a commanding position to sweep regular season competition against Big West opponents.
“We were tied in first place with them in the conference; this gives us the advantage to win the important #1 seed in the tournament,” Placek said.
The loss was Pacific’s first loss in conference play. UCSB now hopes to lock up the coveted #1 seed for the Big West. Players can attest to the importance of the top seed.
“It will help the draw big time, with the #1 seed we will have a great chance to win the tourney. Hopefully we can go up to Cal Poly and take them down to lock it up,” Edlefsen said.
On Friday, Santa Barbara dropped a nonleague matchup to #15 Harvard 5-2. Placek and Stern were the only victors to donate singles points to the Gauchos’ cause. Anselme and Placek won their doubles match against Harvard’s David Lingman and Jonathan Chu 8-6 but Harvard swept the rest of the matches to win the doubles point. Placek’s singles victory over Mark Riddell at #3 singles (7-6, 6-1) pulled the Gauchos within a point at 3-2. However, Crimson #1 singles seed Lingman knocked off Gauchos #1 seed Anselme to seal the victory.
The loss was UCSB’s first loss in Santa Barbara this year. The Gauchos continue their homestand with a nonleague matchup against Saint Mary’s on Wednesday April 7 at the RecCen Tennis Courts.