The UCSB men’s tennis team (3-2 overall) continued its winning ways, beating Oregon 6-1 on Sunday afternoon at the Rec Cen courts in the Gauchos biggest win over a Pac-10 school in a decade.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We wanted to show that we are the defending Big West champs.”
The win, which was the Gauchos’ third straight, came in spite of the inclement weather that disabled UCSB from holding full practices all week. Morning rain on Sunday forced the team to postpone play for almost an hour. In the doubles matches, the duo of sophomore Josh Finkelstein and freshman Alex Konigsfeldt won easily 8-4, but sophomore Philip Therp and senior Jack Hui lost 8-5. The doubles point came down to the Gauchos #3 team of senior Nigel Barton and junior Bijan Hejazi, who were down 5-2, 6-3, and then 7-8 before forcing an 8-8 tiebreaker. Barton hit a soft shot up the sideline to win the tiebreaker 7-4 and the match 9-8.
“It was a big momentum boost for our singles matches,” Hejazi said. “The win took a lot of pressure off of our guys.”
In the singles matches, Therp and Hui each won their second consecutive matches after struggling at the start of the season. Junior Max Taylor – coming off of a foot injury – lost his match 7-6, 6-1.
“[Taylor] is a little rusty, but he’s a resilient guy. He’ll be back to himself pretty quick,” Davis said.
Taylor replaced freshman Eric Lee at the sixth singles spot, but moved up to the fifth spot after the flu forced sophomore Finkelstein to opt out of his singles match. Although he played on short notice and without a complete warmup, Lee won 6-2, 6-1, improving his singles record to 4-2.
“Eric’s a hard worker,” Hejazi said. “He’s a big contributor and a nice surprise for us.”
The Gauchos next face another Pac-10 opponent #6 UCLA in Westwood on Wednesday.
“Hopefully the win [against Oregon] gives us a little confidence against UCLA,” Davis said.