After losing 7-0 to #38 Washington (4-2 overall) on Friday, the UCSB men’s tennis team won their first match of the season against Ball State (3-4 overall) on Saturday afternoon in a 4-3 thriller.
The Gauchos (1-2 overall) fell behind early after losing the doubles point, but won four out of their six singles matches. Five of the six singles matches were decided in three sets.
“It was the closest match I’ve ever seen,” said sophomore team captain Josh Finkelstein, who played in the fifth singles spot and came back from 4-2 in his third set to win 7-6.
Freshman Alexander Konigsfeldt also provided the Gaucho’s with a key come-from-behind victory, defeating Joe Valle 5-7, 6-0, 6-1. He and Finkelstein teamed up to win the only doubles match for UCSB.
Freshman Eric Lee, playing in the sixth singles spot, secured the victory for the Gauchos after winning his third set 6-4. Up 5-1 the third set, Lee lost three straight games and failed to convert three match points before finally putting opponent Jimmy Brannon away.
“I got really nervous at the end,” Lee said. “But I clinched it. I’m happy [it’s over].”
Junior Bijan Hejazi, playing in the first singles spot, had the Gaucho’s only two-set victory. Although UCSB finally squeezed out its first win of the season, Finkelstein believes the team still needs to improve if they want to contend with ranked teams.
“A couple guys are playing well, but a couple are underachieving,” Finkelstein said. “We aren’t [where we need to be] yet, but we’re excited for the home opener.”
The Gauchos play their first home game on Sunday, Feb. 17 against Loyal Marymount (2-1) at 1 p.m.