The UCSB men’s tennis team will travel to the Northwest this weekend, looking to wash away the taste of a three-game losing streak.
The Gauchos face Portland on Friday, #43 Boise State on Saturday and close out the weekend with #55 Oregon on Sunday. All three matches will be played in Eugene, Ore. The #74 Gauchos are barely holding on to a spot in the polls, as the national rankings bottom out at #75.
Santa Barbara has hit a rough spot as of late. After defeating Claremont Mudd and San Francisco at the opening of the season, the Gauchos lost to UCLA, Arizona, and Arizona State, registering only three points in three defeats.
“We feel these teams are right in our neighborhood,” Santa Barbara Head Coach Marty Davis said. “They aren’t too far ahead of us in the rankings and we have a great opportunity to make a good showing. The key for us will be to adjust to the conditions. We will be playing indoors, something we never do, against teams that play indoors all the time. We will also be facing a hostile crowd against Oregon.”
Once again UCSB will be without junior Nick Brotman, an All-Big West selection last year.
“I’m still not able to run or move very well,” Brotman said. “I can only hit balls when they are hit right at me. I’m hoping to be back the weekend after. The trainers haven’t really given me a time when I’ll be ready, so I’ll just have to see what happens.”
Portland comes in at 4-1, its only loss at the hands of #14 Washington. The Pilots beat San Francisco 5-2, a team the Gauchos defeated 6-1.
Boise State boasts an 8-1 record. The Broncos swept USF and their only blemish came against #15 Virginia Commonwealth University. Boise State will be lead by Luke Shields, Matias Silva and Thomas Schoeck, ranked #41, #55 and #89, respectively. Shields and Schoeck combine for the #12 doubles pair in the country.
Oregon has a 5-2 showing so far, led by #16 Sven Swinnen and #57 Manuel Kost. The Ducks were dismantled by #59 BYU and #42 Florida State.
Should UCSB perform well this weekend, its ranking should receive a definite boost; but should the Gauchos falter, they will fall out of the national polls.