It was a tough weekend for the #73 UCSB men’s tennis team as it faced a tough opponent, injuries and a difficult travel schedule before coming away with three losses.
The Gauchos (1-4 overall) fell to #18 Boise State by a score of 6-1 in their home opener on Friday afternoon and traveled to Eugene, Ore., Saturday morning to play a match against Portland later that evening. The result was another 6-1 loss to the Pilots (3-2), followed by a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Oregon on Sunday morning.
After rain drowned out their scheduled home opener to BYU (5-4) over two weeks ago, the Gauchos finally took to the Rec Cen Courts for the first time Friday with the daunting task of toppling Boise State (7-1). The Broncos eased through doubles play, with 8-2 wins over the #1 tandem of juniors Jack Hui and Anders Dalskov and the #2 pairing of sophomores Bijan Hejazi and Nigel Barton. On court three, Boise State swept the doubles by defeating freshman Philip Therp and sophomore Grant Robertson with a score of 8-4.
The Broncos overpowered the Gauchos in singles, winning five out of six matches, though some of the contests were closer than the scores may have indicated. The lone point for Santa Barbara came from Dalskov, who won his third straight match in a third set tiebreaker 6-1, 6-7 (10-6).
Also a highlight for UCSB was freshman Josh Finkelstein, who played in his first career singles match for the Gauchos after redshirting all of last season with an injury. Finkelstein played at the sixth spot in the lineup and sophomore Max Taylor moved up to fifth to compensate for an injury to senior Elad Stern.
“It gave me some really good experience because my first match was such a tough one,” Finkelstein said. “Hopefully I learn a lot from this match.”
Santa Barbara continued its busy weekend Saturday morning when it traveled to Eugene to face Portland later that evening. Fatigue may have caught up to UCSB as it faltered in the match, losing to the Pilots 6-1. In addition to the difficult travel arrangements, the Gauchos were also faced with the prospect of playing indoors, which provides a different playing experience.
“It’s completely different because we play indoors,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “It’s really a challenge to make the transition in a 24-hour period.”
The Gauchos hoped to salvage the weekend as they faced Oregon (6-2) Sunday morning. The match started out on a positive note for Santa Barbara with wins from pairs Dalskov and Hui, and Finkelstein and Barton secured the doubles point for UCSB. The Gauchos fell flat in singles play; however, Hejazi scored the only singles win for Santa Barbara at #1, 6-4, 6-3. UCSB played without the services of Therp, who has played well on the young season for the Gauchos in the third spot in the lineup.
UCSB continues on its road trip next Saturday when the squad takes on Berkeley at 1 p.m.