The UCSB men’s tennis team will be looking to start its season off strong when it hosts Westmont on Wednesday.

The Gauchos will try to build on last season’s efforts, as they finished just two points short of winning the Big West Conference title in 2012. While they came up shy of winning the championship, the team knows what it has to do in order to get over the hump and win it this year.

“Last year’s disappointing loss really inspired us to work harder,” sophomore Greg Scott said. “We’re just looking to keep going and take it one match at a time.”

While crucial mental mistakes by the Gauchos certainly did not helpthem in last season’s finale, the main focus of the team in getting back to the top starts with their health and fitness.

“One thing we’re really trying to focus on is injury prevention,” Scott said. “In our big loss last year we had a lot of injuries that possibly cost us the championship, so we mainly want to focus on physical fitness.”

The Gauchos come into this season ranked No. 68 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, while their opponent Westmont is currently ranked No. 10 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Despite Westmont’s high conference ranking, Scott voiced the team’s mindset.

“We’re just going to go out there and play our game. We respect themlike we respect any other team we play. We’ll just take it point by point and not get ahead of ourselves.”

While the team knows that its ultimate goal is to win the Big West, it knows that it needs to take care of business first before it can have the opportunity again.

“We’re just looking to take it one match at a time, not thinking about the Big West really,” Scott said. “But at the end of the day that is our main goal.”

There are six starters returning from last season, including standout seniors Max Glenn and Mbonisi Ndimande, who were All-Big West First Team selections in singles and doubles, respectively. Newcomers this season include sophomore Miles Seemann and freshman Jacob Johnson.

The match will begin at 1:30 the Rec Cen courts.

A version of this article appeared on page 9 of January 16, 2013’s print edition of the Nexus.