Michael Jordan once came back from horrible flu symptoms to torch the Blazers in the NBA Finals. Likewise, junior Matthew Coin, who was forced to forfeit his last match against Saint Mary’s due to chronic leg problems, not only returned from injury, but also anchored an epic comeback against #39 Fresno State 4-3.
Although the Gauchos dropped the doubles point, they evened the score in singles at 3-3, leaving the fate of the match in the hands of #6-seeded Coin. Coin found himself down 6-1, 5-2 (40-15) before ripping off an unprecedented 11 straight games to stun his opponent Sergui Modoc.
“My teammate Nick [Edlefsen] came over and cheered and gave me some much-needed confidence,” Coin said. “I noticed my opponent was starting to get really frustrated and I just rolled with it.”
The feat was even more impressive being that Coin had previously been hobbled by nagging leg injuries. The end score was 1-6, 7-5, 6-0, in favor of Coin.
“They checked me out on Thursday and they passed me Friday. That, coupled with adrenaline – it really didn’t affect me that much,” Coin said.
The Bulldogs showed a kink in their armor despite winning the doubles point. Before being tamed by the Gauchos, they had a menacing 9-1 mark. The Gauchos responded effectively after falling in a quick 0-1 hole. UCSB won all three of the first singles matches.
“We weren’t really affected by [losing the doubles point]. We had dealt with that a lot early in the season, so we’re pretty experienced being down 0-1,” Coin said.
In #1 singles, junior Alex Anselme rocked nationally ranked New Zealand stud Alex Krohn, 6-1, 6-3. Freshmen Elad Stern and Nicholas Elefsen also won their matches at #4 and #5 singles, respectively. Senior Mike Placek had his five-match winning streak snapped narrowly in his last home match by Fresno State netter Charles Irie, 7-5, 7-6. Sophomore Nicholas Brotman lost at #2 singles in the third decisive tiebreaker set 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, to set the stage for Coin’s heroics. Coin’s comeback victory stunned the Bulldogs and will likely warrant UCSB a national rank.
The Gauchos have now formed an impressive three-game winning streak and have won nine of their last 11 matches. The Gauchos will take the road to try and clinch the #1 seed in the Big West Tournament against Central Coast rival Cal Poly on Wednesday, April 14.