Senior Mathieu Forget will have fond memories of his Senior Day, as the No. 55 UCSB men’s tennis team swept past Loyola Marymount 7-0 yesterday in its last home match of the season. Santa Barbara improved to 12-7 on the year with an impressive 9-2 mark at home, while LMU drops to 8-11.
“Forget has meant a lot to the program over the years and for him to play as well as he did today in his last home match was special, and tough to do against a quality team like Loyola Marymount,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “A tip of our sombrero to Matt for having a great day and a great career here at UCSB.”
The double pairings were altered due to an injury to sophomore Axel Bouillin, so Forget and junior Benjamin Recknagel teamed up for the first time this year and actually started the day with an 8-4 loss at No. 1 — but that would be the only win of the afternoon for LMU. The Gauchos picked up the first point with juniors Mbonisi Ndimande and Alex Johnson’s 8-6 win on court No. 2 and sophomore Alexander Gryaznov and freshman Ziad Sultan’s 8-4 win at No. 3.
“It’s crazy to realize that that was my last home match,” Forget said. “It feels like my freshman year was two weeks ago … It’s weird. As a team, we did really well, so hopefully that’s gonna give us momentum to win against Fresno State [next week].”
Forget entered the week as the No. 122 ranked singles player in the country, the first time he has been nationally ranked, and proved worthy of the recognition with a quick 6-1, 6-0 win in the No. 1 position.
“He’s the most improved player I’ve had in the 12 years I’ve been coaching here,” Davis said. “If the season was long enough, he’d be ranked top 50.”
Recknagel took care of business at No. 2 with a 6-2, 6-3 win, as did Sultan with a 6-1, 7-6 sweep on the No. 4 court. Gryaznov and junior Max Glenn also swept their opponents at courts five and six, with 7-5, 6-2 and 7-5, 6-4 wins, respectively. Ndimande dropped the first set 4-6 at No. 3 before taking the second set 7-5 and winning the tiebreaker 10-6.
“It was a goal of mine to play No. 1 for the school and be ranked,” Forget said. “Now it would be even better if, as a team, we win Big West, make it to NCAAs — and if we’re top 40, everything will be accomplished.”
UCSB looks to keep its momentum up as it continues its nonconference schedule next week, where it will travel to take on No. 34 Fresno State on April 17 in a match that could definitely help the Gauchos move up the rankings as the regular season draws to a close.