The UCSB men’s tennis team finished its regular season Saturday with a 5-2 loss against no. 65 and rival Cal Poly.
The Blue-Green rivalry loss dropped UCSB’s record to 9-13 overall and 2-4 in Big West play. It also showed two teams that are heading in very different directions going into the postseason.
After Saturday, the Gauchos have now lost three matches in a row and five out of their last six. Cal Poly, on the other hand, has now won five straight and is peaking at the perfect time in the season.
UCSB did not get off to a great start Saturday as Cal Poly quickly secured the important doubles point.
Andre Dome and Jordan Bridge defeated the tandem of senior Benjamin Recknagel and junior Axel Bouillin 8-3. Shortly thereafter, Marco Comuzzo and Matt Thompson sealed the doubles point for the Mustangs with another 8-3 victory over freshman Andrew Riminton and sophomore Miles Seemann. Sophomore Ziad Sultan and junior Sasha Gryaznov won their doubles match 8-7 (5).
Despite getting down early, the Gauchos improved their play during singles, but were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit.
Sultan set the tone early on for the Gauchos by taking down Bridge with a seemingly effortless 6-1, 6-0 performance. Sultan’s win tied the match at 1-1 and set the stage for a thrilling battle between the two rival schools.
However, the only other Gaucho to win his singles match on Saturday was freshman Jacob Johnson. Johnson took down Thompson in a back and forth 7-5, 6-4 affair.
The match was also senior day for UCSB and Recknagel, the only senior who played Saturday. Recknagel did not fail to impress in his last home match.
Faced up against Dome, the No. 25 ranked player in the country, Recknagel took the match to three sets before eventually losing 4-6, 6-1, 6-1. Despite losing, the performance from Recknagel was still impressive due to Dome being considered one of best individual players in NCAA tennis.
The loss means that UCSB will now enter the Big West Tournament as the fifth seed.
Cal Poly, on the other hand, clinched at least a share of the Big West Tournament with the win over the Gauchos and they could end up gaining the number one seed for the tournament.
The Big West Tournament begins on April 25 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
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