The UCSB men’s tennis team’s hot start came to a halt Tuesday as it suffered a lopsided loss at the hands of USC.
After an exciting 4-3 win over #63 BYU that came down to the final match Monday, the Gauchos (3-1 overall) had their work cut out for them if they were to take down the #20 Trojans. Monday’s magic was not there for UCSB, getting swept in doubles and losing five out of six singles matches en route to a 6-1 loss.
For the second consecutive match, the Gauchos were shut out in doubles play, giving the Trojans a 1-0 lead early on. Two freshmen tandems earned doubles experience for UCSB as Head Coach Marty Davis elected to start Carsten Thorstensen and Scott Hohenstein, who lost 8-6, in the #2 spot. Fellow freshmen Bijan Hejazi and Grant Robertson played together for the first time and were shutout 8-0.
There were no major changes to UCSB’s singles lineup, but Davis did choose to move Hejazi – who was an impressive 3-0 on the season in singles matches coming into Tuesday – into the #3 spot behind #1 senior Nick Brotman and #2 junior Elad Stern. It was a disappointing day for Hejazi, however, losing his singles matches in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
It did not take long for USC to clinch the match, as they quickly went up 4-0. First to go down was Brotman in the #1 spot, losing in straight sets 6-3, 6-4. Sophomore Anders Dalskov – the hero in Monday’s thrilling defeat of BYU – could not duplicate the same magic as he gave the Trojans a 3-0 lead with a 6-1, 6-4 loss. USC sophomore Kaes Van’t Hof clinched the match with a win over Stern 7-5, 6-1.
Even though they were down 5-0 and had already lost the match, the Gauchos ended the day with two positive performances from Thorstensen and another freshman, Max Taylor. Thorstensen followed up a key 7-6, 6-2 comeback win Monday with another impressive effort – securing the UCSB’s only win on the day with another comeback win 2-6, 6-4, 10-8.
Taylor – who lost his BYU match in three sets – also pushed his USC opponent to a third set in a competitive match that saw all three sets decided by tiebreakers. Despite his efforts, USC eked out the victory 7-6, 6-7, 10-4, sending the Gauchos home with the loss. Despite Taylor’s loss, he and Thorstensen both gained valuable experience competing in close matches against one of the upper-echelon teams in the nation.
After four matches in four days, the Gauchos will take a week off from competition before hosting Princeton at the Rec Cen tennis courts Jan. 31 at 1:30 p.m.0