Momentum is imperative for any team heading into its home stretch.
The #65 nationally ranked UCSB men’s tennis team now has the task of reviving its lost momentum and rebounding this weekend after a deflating loss to arch-rival Cal Poly. Wins against nationally ranked opponents University of San Diego and San Diego State this weekend would definitely give the Gauchos their swagger back going into the Big West Tournament. The Gauchos, however, have no reason for a shortage of confidence. Before narrowly losing to Cal Poly, they had won nine of their last 11 matches and brandished a three-game winning streak.
This weekend will be a good test of how strong the Gaucho squad is. On April 17, they will serve off against #32 USD in San Diego. USD holds an 11-6 overall record whereas UCSB counters with an 11-7 mark. While San Diego has six losses, five of those six losses came at the hands of other nationally ranked teams. USD has been ranked as strong as #27 in the nation during this season. Its squad is anchored by #1 singles player Pierrick Ysern. Ysern, a native of Paris, France, is ranked #11 in the nation. Last year, Ysern was named to the all West Coast Conference team. USD also has a menacing #1 doubles duo, comprised of Jason Pongsrikul and Nic Beugue. The pair is ranked #47 in the nation and until their last match against UC Irvine had been undefeated. Their record now sits at 6-1.
On April 18, Santa Barbara jumps right back into action with a match against #71 San Diego State. The Aztecs are 9-7 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The Gauchos will face another tough doubles match-up with the Aztec #1 doubles duo Felix Hardt and Ryan Redondo. The 1-2 punch has earned themselves a #44 national ranking. #1 seeded singles junior Alex Anselme of UCSB will have his hands full with yet another nationally ranked foe. Countering Anselme will be senior Hardt of Allensbach, Germany. Right now, Allensbach holds a ranking of #44 in the nation; however, he was once ranked #79 in Germany and as high as #680 in the ATP rankings.
Wins this weekend would justify the Gauchos’ national ranking and give them confidence going into the Big West Tournament where they will try to capture their third-straight Big West title.