The UCSB men’s tennis team swept Loyola Marymount 7-0 at the Rec Cen Courts on Sunday afternoon in a match that was closer than the score entails.
The win was a big one for the Gauchos (2-2 overall), not only because they have now won two straight, but also because LMU (3-2) took down #73 Brigham Young University 4-3 on Saturday – a team that beat #2 Azusa Pacific 7-2 on Monday.
“[The win] was really big for us, especially because [junior] Jack [Hui] and [sophomore] Phil [Therp] got their first wins,” sophomore Josh Finkelstein said. “Hopefully they’ll be able to build on that because we got some big matches coming up.”
The drama began in the doubles matches, where Therp and Hui managed to hold off a comeback in their 9-8 victory, while Finkelstein and freshman Alex Konigsfeldt won five consecutive games to win their match 9-7. Junior Bijan Hejazi and senior Nigel Barton overcame a small deficit to win 8-6.
For the singles matches, Davis moved the hot Konigsfeldt up to the third singles slot in place of Hui, and he had no problems in his 6-3, 7-6 victory. After flying back Sunday morning from San Jose after participating in the SAP prequalifying tournament, Hejazi won his second singles match of the season 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Team captain Finkelstein continued his consistent singles play in the fifth slot, winning 6-3, 6-4. He and Konigsfeldt possess the best singles records on the team so far at 3-1. Hui, who moved down to number four singles, finally found his form in his first singles win of the season, 6-0, 6-1.
“There’s a big difference from being used to playing number two and number three to playing number four,” Hui said. “But I’m glad I got the victory.”
Freshman Eric Lee committed many unforced errors in his singles match, but had enough winners at the net to pull away with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Sophomore Philip Therp also picked up his first singles victory this season, winning in straight sets 7-5, 6-4. UCSB’s next match is against Oregon at home on Sunday at 1 p.m. before facing #8 UCLA in Westwood on Feb. 27.
“I think [the team] is coming along,” Finkelstein said. “We are really getting ready for our conference rival UC Irvine [on March 8]. It’s a more important game than UCLA or Oregon as far as the team is concerned.”
Irvine, now ranked # 60, is currently the only ranked team in the Big West.