The #66 UCSB men’s tennis team’s quest for the Big West Championship took a huge hit this weekend as the Gauchos lost a crucial conference match at Pacific 4-3, followed by a 5-2 nonconference defeat at the hands of #60 Fresno State. The loss to Pacific all but eliminates the Gauchos’ chance of claiming the tournament’s top seed.

“Most likely there will be a three-way tie for first place,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We had a chance to take control, but let it slip away.”

UCSB got off to a promising start against Pacific , winning two of the three doubles matches en route to the doubles point. But the Tigers came on strong at the top of the singles lineup, winning at slots 1-4.

Starring for the Tigers were #84 Arnar Sigurdsson and #108 Jorgen Vestli. Sigurdsson was victorious at #1 singles over Gaucho senior Alex Anselme, 6-2, 6-1; while Vestli won at #2 over junior Nick Brotman, 6-2, 6-2.

“I was not real pleased with our doubles play,” Davis said. “All season I expected to be strong in doubles and strong at the bottom of the singles lineup and weaker at the top. It would have been nice to win just one of those top-four games.”

For UCSB, sophomore Elad Stern won at #5, 6-2, 6-0, and freshman Anders Dalskov added the only other Gaucho point, winning 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (3). Brotman teamed up with junior Ivan d’Argence for a win at #1 doubles, while senior Leo Basica and Stern added a win at #3 doubles.

“We really could have won any of those top-four matches,” Davis said.

The loss to the Bulldogs nearly mirrored the defeat at the hands of Pacific. The Gauchos were unable to capture the doubles point, and lost at slots 1-4 for singles. Dalskov and Stern were the only Gauchos to contribute.

UCSB’s loss clouds the seeding picture. UCSB, UC Irvine and Pacific all sit deadlocked at 3-1 in Big West play. The first tiebreaker is a head-to-head record, and each team has won on its home court. The next tiebreaker is common opponents, an area that hurts the Gauchos.

“Cal Poly’s best player just came off of academic probation, so we can add them into the mix,” Davis said. “It should be a four-horse race with any of us capable of winning it all.”

UCSB, which has yet to win on the road this season, finishes the Big West season Friday at home against Riverside, one of the weakest Big West teams.

“We are definitely looking forward to playing them on neutral turf. We haven’t been able to adjust to new conditions on the road,” Davis said.