The UCSB men’s tennis team could not have asked for a better start to its conference season than the dominating 7-0 win it enjoyed over Central Coast rival Cal Poly on Wednesday afternoon.
Following a lackluster performance against Georgia State that resulted in a 2-5 loss at home, the Gauchos (6-6 overall, 1-0 in the Big West) rebounded admirably in their first Big West match with their first road win and first shutout of the season. In the win the Gauchos swept singles play and won the doubles point 2-1, their first doubles win after seven consecutive losses.
“It’s always hard to win on the road, and winning 7-0 is very positive for us,” junior Elad Stern said.
The match marked the return of senior Nick Brotman, the Gauchos #1 player who sat out the last match with the flu. Brotman teamed up with sophomore Anders Dalskov at #1 doubles and eased to an 8-2 win. The Gauchos pulled out a 2-1 win at doubles as Stern and freshman Grant Robertson came away with a close 9-7 win.
“We worked on the doubles a lot in practice,” Assistant Coach Geoff Crosby said. “It would have been nice to win all three doubles matches but we got the point and that was a really nice start.”
In #1 singles, Brotman looked as though he had fully recovered from injury, as he cruised past his opponent 6-1, 6-4. Stern, who on Sunday played in the #1 spot in Brotman’s absence, found himself in a close match as it went three sets, but Stern came away with the close victory 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, Freshman Bijan Hejazi also went to three sets, as he dropped the first 2-6, came back to win the second 7-5 and eased through the third to take the third and final set, 6-1.
“We just made sure we put our heads down and started working harder,” Hejazi said. “Everybody seemed to have a rocky start but in the end we got the win.”
Dalskov, who scored one of two singles wins for UCSB against Georgia State, was again reliable at the #4 spot as he came back from a set down and won his match in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. At #5 and #6 singles a pair of Gaucho freshmen were more than up to the challenge as Carsten Thorstensen and Max Taylor took their matches in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 and 6-3, 6-2, respectively, to send the Gauchos home on a high note with the 7-0 sweep.
“We didn’t play our best tennis but we wanted to come out and make a statement, especially in a conference match,” Crosby said.
The win is one of the more impressive of the season for the Gauchos, considering the uninspiring performance on Sunday. Now with a road win and conference win under its belt, UCSB will return home with a renewed sense of confidence after its convincing drubbing of Cal Poly.
UCSB will next play host to Yale on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Rec Cen Tennis Courts.