By Jessica Vrazilek
Thursday, the UCSB men’s tennis team took two of its top competitors, juniors Nick Brotman and Ivan D’Argence Arceo, to the annual All-American Tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The men were selected to compete based on their individual records. The two have the two best records on the team in challenge matches and tryouts.
The men left the tournament with a combined 2-3 record and returned to Santa Barbara with motivation to work hard this season.
Winning two hard matches against top-seeded tennis players from Butler University and Troy State, 17th-seeded Brotman made it to the fourth qualifying round where he lost to San Diego State’s #1 player, Armando Carrascosa.
“It was a close match, but overall he played some really great games,” Head Coach Marty Davis said.
The appearance was Brotman’s second in as many years as a representative for the Gauchos. He is expected to step into the team’s #1 spot, according to senior Matt Coin.
“It is pretty easy to tell; everyone assumes he will be our #1,” Coin said.
Even though the rankings will not be decided until spring, Brotman is already seen as a leader on the court.
“He has had a big responsibility as a leader on this team; everyone really respects him,” Coin said. “He has fulfilled his role.”
The Gaucho men acknowledge Brotman’s hard work and consider him a valuable team asset.
“He makes me work even harder,” senior Leo Basica said. “Especially when I am trying to beat him. He is the kind of guy you need on your team.”
Brotman is always looking to improve his game and abilities.
“Eight hours after we came off a nine-hour flight, Nick was ready for practice to improve his game,” Davis said.
Perhaps Brotman’s best attribute is his easygoing personality.
“Nick is a great teammate and a nice guy. He is ambitious, hardworking, and always smiling,” sophomore Elad Stern said. “He takes life easy [and] I love him for it.”
Brotman’s personality makes vigorous team practices a lot more enjoyable for everyone.
“He is a good guy and so much fun to be around,” Coin said. “He is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. Nick is just crazy and lighthearted, and that is what keeps our practices fun.”
This year Brotman’s team expects to see great advancements from him and is proud of the improvements he has already made.
“He has just been doing so well,” Coin said.
According to Davis, this will be an outstanding year for Brotman.
“Nick has really matured as a player and will clearly have a very good season.” Davis said. “I am very excited to see how he matures even further, especially with his volleying and serving [which he has been working on].”
Also representing the Gauchos at the All-American Tournament was D’Argence Arceo, who recently transferred to UCSB from Indiana State University. D’Argence Arceo was selected for this tournament based on his success in matches earlier this season and is a welcome addition to the Santa Barbara squad.
“Ivan was very nervous playing his first match for us,” Davis said. “I wish he wasn’t put against such a difficult player so he could have the chance to show his talent.”
D’Argence Arceo lost to Louisiana State University’s #1 player in the first round of the pre-qualifying tournament. D’Argence Arceo is new to the UCSB team but has made a good impression on his teammates.
“We don’t know him very well yet,” Stern said. “But in the past three weeks we can see that he is a really nice guy who always works hard and is always looking to improve.”
The Gauchos see D’Argence Arceo as an extremely helpful person who has started proving himself as a leader.
“So far he has been an incredibly positive influence through his great attitude,” Coin said. “He is someone we can look up to on the court, especially to the freshmen since they really look up to him and he has such a positive tone for them to follow.”
D’Argence Arceo is definitely recognized and appreciated for his encouraging outlook.
“Ivan embodies the Gaucho spirit,” Basica said. “From the start, he is exactly what we have needed. He has a lot of energy and you can never go wrong with that.”
D’Argence Arceo also elevates team morale with his professional work ethic and motivation.
“If you are playing on the court with Ivan you do not want to mess around; you just want to do your best since he is putting in his 100 percent,” Coin said.
His teammates say this season will be a strong one for D’Argence Arceo.
“Ivan is the type of athlete who works hard and plays hard,” Coin said. “I definitely see him in the top six spots this season if not the top half.”
Davis agrees that D’Argence Arceo’s persistence and determination will bring him very far.
“He is hungry … and that makes me excited to see what he can do,” Davis said.