The UCSB men’s tennis team will travel to Westwood today to play #6 UCLA at 1:30 p.m.
The highest ranked team that the Gauchos (3-2 overall) play all year, the Bruins (7-1) have the 25th-ranked collegiate player in the country in senior Mathieu Dehaine and the 28th-ranked player in freshman Holden Seguso, while two other Bruins are among the top 100. Although the Gauchos lost 7-0 to #27 Washington on Feb. 8, the only ranked opponent they have played so far, they have won three consecutive matches, including their 6-1 victory over Oregon on Sunday.
“We are competing very well [right now],” junior Bijan Hejazi said. “Even days when we aren’t playing well, our competitiveness is pushing us over the edge.”
Hejazi has achieved success against senior Bruin Jeremy Drean, who has played #5 singles for UCLA in past matches this season. Sophomore Philip Therp and senior Jack Hui have found their strokes after losing their first two matches of the season, winning their second consecutive matches in UCSB’s win against the Ducks.
“My baseline game wasn’t working very well [at the beginning of the season],” Therp said. “But I’m feeling a lot better, playing a lot better. I’ve gained consistency at the baseline.”
Freshmen Alexander Konigsfeldt and Eric Lee are 4-1 and 3-1 in singles matches, respectively. Lee will start over junior Max Taylor, who lost on Sunday in his first match after injuring his foot. The flu forced sophomore team captain Josh Finkelstein out of his singles match on Sunday, but he is expected to return as the #5 singles player today.
“UCLA isn’t going to lose any points to us — we will have to beat them,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “We need to be passionate and have no fear. From a technical standpoint, we need to attack every short ball we see.”