The road does not get any easier for the UCSB men’s tennis team as they head to Austin, TX this Saturday for a three-day tournament where they will take on national #2 Texas in the first round. For junior captain Josh Finkelstein and the Gauchos (0-1), the match will prove to be one of the toughest of the whole season.
“Playing Texas in the first round is going to be tough,” Finkelstein said. “They are really good and really deep. We just got a really tough draw.”
Junior Scott Hohenstein, the source of Santa Barbara’s lone win last weekend against Boise State, is equally tentative.
“I just think everyone in the lineup needs to be playing at the top of their game,” Hohenstein said. “If not, we are going to have a lot of trouble.”
Though Hohenstein fared well against 85th ranked Stanley Sarapanich, Texas boasts 31st ranked Dimitar Kutrovksy, as well as a very solid supporting cast. According to Head Coach Marty Davis, this weekend will be a good learning experience.
“[Texas] did really well last year at the NCAA [tournament], so I’m looking at the opportunity to play them as a great experience for us,” Davis said. “It’s an exposure to the highest level, and the first time we’ve ever been invited to the tournament, so it’s an honor for us.”
Even if they come up short against Texas, UCSB will get another chance against the winner of the match between Texas Christian University or the University of South Florida, two teams that Coach Davis describes as similar to last week’s opponent Boise State. Either way, the Gauchos have been working hard this week in preparation.
“It’s kind of a long shot at a big upset,” Davis said. “But the second day gives us a very realistic chance at an upset. Phil Therp’s opponent from Boise State, who he played really well, beat the number two ranked player in the country the next day. You just never know in college tennis.”
The National Team Indoors in Texas is the first tournament weekend of three on the road for UCSB. They head to Oregon the following weekend, followed by their first conference match against UC Davis on Feb. 14th.