The UCSB men’s tennis team split a pair of Big West matches this weekend, losing 6-1 to UC Irvine on Friday and then following it up with a 6-1 domination of their own against UC Riverside. The doubles dream team of junior Josh Finkelstein and sophomore Alex Konigsfeldt were able to dispatch Irvine’s best doubles team with ease, dropping the Anteaters 8-1. Unfortunately, the Gauchos did not take a single set after that. Junior Scott Hohenstein put some of the blame of the singles complacency on coming up so big in the doubles.
“I think people got too excited about the doubles win,” Hohenstein said. “It’s still really important, obviously, but things just sort of fell off in the singles, and we can’t have that.”
Only senior Max Taylor took his match against Steven Henderson at the number two position into two straight tiebreakers, but still lost them both. The singles struggles continued as Konigsfeldt and Finkelstein lost their singles matches against the very same doubles opponents they trounced at the beginning of the day.
Santa Barbara was without their ace, reigning Big West Player of the Year Phil Therp, due to injury, but Head Coach Marty Davis knows they will have to get used to playing without him.
“[Not having Therp] makes a huge difference,” Davis said. “Everybody has to move up a spot, not to mention he’s played Wes Miller before, beating him 6-1 to 6-1, but we need to get over that, because he’s not playing the rest of the season. We know we can win without him, but it hurts, because he’s the best in conference.”
On Sunday, UCSB fared much better. They easily took care of UC Riverside, including a win in his first career match from freshman Mattieu Forget, and a masterful demonstration by Scott Hohenstein during which he dropped only a single game.
“I was being really hard on myself against Irvine, and I went out there trying to be more positive, and I ended up playing a lot better,” Hohenstein said. “Overall I was more consistent. I was making my shots, and I was serving well. Things were just clicking.”
For Davis, this weekend still gave him a reason to smile. Despite the loss to UCI, Santa Barbara still has a chance at the goal they set for themselves before every season.
“We’ve got quite a bit to be happy about,” Davis said. “Beating Riverside still keeps our chances alive for winning the regular season Big West title.”
They will try to keep that goal alive this weekend, when the Gauchos head to Texas for the second time this season, where they will take on University of Texas, Arlington and Southern Methodist University.