It all came down to one court, but the UCSB men’s tennis team was able to finish off #63 BYU with a nail-biting 4-3 win.
After losing all three doubles matches, the Gauchos (3-0 overall) rallied in singles to bring the score to a 3-3 tie with all the pressure on sophomore Anders Dalskov in a heated three set match. Dalskov came through, clinching a 4-3 win for UCSB and winning the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“This is the best start possible, we’ve won all three matches,” Dalskov said. “We start out with more confidence now because we know that we can [beat good teams in close matches].”
In Saturday’s back-to-back wins against Westmont and Fresno Pacific, UCSB swept through doubles play going 6-0. The doubles magic was not quite there on Monday, however, while the Gauchos came up short in all three matches, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead. The Gauchos needed to win 4 out of 6 singles matches in order to secure the win.
“After the disappointing doubles play they really fought hard in singles and I’m really proud of the effort,” head coach Marty Davis said.
Freshman Bijan Hejazi was again a standout for the Gauchos, being the first to finish off his singles opponent in straight sets 6-1, 7-5. Now 3-0 in singles play on the season with a dominant win over a ranked opponent under his belt, Hejazi certainly looks to be a strong weapon in UCSB’s arsenal.
“I try to treat every match the same without prior judgment and put in 100 percent each time,” Hejazi said.
Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day was from another freshman, Carsten Thorstensen, who won his match 7-6, 6-2 after rallying from down 2-5 in the first set with his opponent serving for the match.
“I noticed he was a bit tired, I just tried my best to keep the ball in play,” Thorstensen said. “[The win] felt really good. Every match is so important when we’re playing the ranked teams.”
The Gauchos took a 3-1 lead after junior Elad Stern won his match in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6. But the 3-1 advantage turned into a 3-3 tie as senior Nick Brotman and freshman Max Taylor dropped their matches 5-7, 6-1, 3-6 and 4-6, 7-5, 1-6, respectively.
“There’s going to be a lot of matches this year where it comes down to 3-3 and it’s all on your court and that’s what we work so hard for – that moment where it’s all on you,” Davis said.
Monday it all came down to Dalskov’s match, which was in a third set after Dalskov rallied from a 4-6 first set to win the second 7-5. With all eyes on the exciting finish, Dalskov looked inspired as he powered through the third and decisive set, sealing the 4-3 win for the Gauchos.
“I knew that I could play better than I did in the first set,” Dalskov said “I thought I could beat him and I did what I had to do to bring victory to the team.”
The schedule does not get any easier for the Gauchos, as they travel to USC tomorrow to face the #20 Trojans, but UCSB hopes the momentum from the three early wins carries over.
“Nothing is impossible if we play with the same energy level and same spirit,” Dalskov said.