Layoffs are always a possibility after an emotional victory. Today at 1:30 p.m. the #65 nationally ranked UCSB men’s tennis team travels up highway 101 in hopes of corralling Cal Poly.
The Gauchos are looking to avoid a layoff after a monumental upset of #39 nationally ranked Fresno State. The victory put Santa Barbara back into the national rankings.
A Gaucho victory would clinch UCSB’s regular season top-ranking in the Big West and lock up the #1 seed for the tournament. Santa Barbara is 4-0 thus far in Big West play and could conclude a perfect season against conference opponents with a win over the Mustangs.
Cal Poly will defend its home turf with a respectable 10-11 record and 2-2 in the Big West. Despite owning ten wins, victories these days have been much harder to come by for the Mustangs. Their last win was over a month ago when they knocked off Utah State 5-2 on March 11. In Cal Poly’s last two matches they were clobbered by Pacific and Pepperdine by a combined score of 12-2. Last year the Mustangs finished 14-12 and 2-4 in the Big West. Santa Barbara busted out the brooms last year by sweeping Cal Poly 7-0.
“They’ve lost to Irvine and Pacific, teams which we beat, but it will still be a challenge because they don’t have as much to lose so they will be dangerous,” said junior Matthew Coin.
Cal Poly is anchored by #1 seeded netter John Nguyen, a sophomore transfer student out of Anaheim. Nguyen started the season strong going 3-0 at #2 singles but has struggled at #1 singles, posting a 5-10 mark. Playing opposite Nguyen will be #1 seeded Gaucho junior Alex Anselme. Anselme, despite sharing a 5-10 mark at #1 singles (14-16 overall), has been a force to be reckoned with. Last week he dominated his Saint Mary’s opponent and recently knocked off his nationally ranked counterpart from Fresno State.
The Gauchos are the winners of 9 of their last 11 and 4 of their last 5. This weekend the Gauchos travel south for showdowns against #32 University of San Diego and #71 San Diego State.