The UCSB men’s tennis team dropped two matches in the San Diego rain this weekend, losing 5-2 to the University of San Diego on Saturday and 4-2 to #63 San Diego State after a three-hour rain delay on Sunday.
With an overall record of 3-6, the Gauchos finally play their first home games of the season against conference foes UC Davis on Feb. 27 and Pacific on Feb. 28. The home environment will be good for the Gauchos, according to Head Coach Marty Davis, because they have been struggling with nerves since their close, 4-3 loss at UC Irvine.
“It’s nice to be home,” Davis said. “It’s tough to win on the road. We’ve learned some lessons and taken some lumps, but provided we can stay positive about it we can be in great shape [for the rest of the season].”
In college tennis, the team that wins at least two of three doubles matches earns a doubles point that gets tallied in the total for the match. A win in each of the six singles matches counts as a full point for a player’s respective team.
Against SDSU, the rain delay forced the Gauchos to play their singles matches first instead of doubles. Once again, the team lost their three matches at the top of the order but took two out of three matches in the bottom half. Junior Philip Therp returned to the first singles slot for the first time in over a year after being sidelined with injuries. He lost both matches 6-3, 6-2, but things are looking up for the Gauchos, who now have only one starter on the bench in senior team captain Josh Finkelstein.
“We need more production from the top half of our lineup,” Davis said. “Philip is just now working his way back into it. We wouldn’t expect him to play his best tennis out of the block, but if he can improve again [before] this weekend’s matches then he’s going to win.”
Finkelstein is likely to sit out this coming weekend, as well.
“Josh is a strong leader. He’s a vocal leader,” Davis continued. “He adds a lot of energy to the match environment for us. We miss that.”
On Saturday against the Toreros, the Gauchos swept the doubles point and won the first singles set in the bottom four spots of the order, but only freshman Benjamin Reckagnel managed a win.
“It would be healthy for us to win a close match,” Davis said. “We were a little bit nervous, a little bit tight. We need to put those skeletons in the closet [for this weekend].”
Both matches begin at 1 p.m. at the Rec Center courts.