It may be Winter Quarter here at UCSB but the men’s tennis team looks forward to playing in the sun this weekend with matches against LMU and Arizona. The boys will come out swinging their racquets looking to pick up two wins in sunny Santa Barbara.
The weather will allow the Gauchos to play at their normal high level after having to adjust to playing indoors in their three previous matches this season in Oregon and Washington. On their travels, the Gauchos defeated Portland 4-3 on the backs of wins by the doubles pairs of juniors Tobias Galskov with Miles Seemann and freshman Teague Hamilton with sophomore Andrew Riminton. Singles matches with wins from Galskov, freshman Erik Johnsson and Riminton also contributed to the victory. The team then dropped its next two matches against Washington and Oregon.
“I was pleased with our doubles play,” Head Coach Marty Davis said in reference to the weekend in the Pacific Northwest. “We almost squeaked out the victory over Washington, and now that we’ll be playing outdoors I expect our fitness to help us win those close matches.”
The team has had two weeks to build from their last matches leading up to this weekend. According to coach Marty Davis, “We’ve been practicing a lot on our service games. In order to win these matches we need to be able to hold our serves better.”
Davis also expects his team’s fitness to help his team this weekend. The Gauchos are experienced and strong enough to be able to play matches on consecutive days without worry. With two weeks of practice under their belts since their last match, the Gauchos will be energized and ready for their next matches.
Looking at their opponents, the Gauchos will be taking on a strong LMU team that is 2-0 this season with wins over Sacramento State and UC Davis. Top players are sophomore David Doehring, sophomore Cristobal Rivera and the top doubles team will be junior Todd Volmari and senior Sebastian Bustamante. Expect new Coach Tom Lloyd’s team to come up to Santa Barbara ready for some close and competitive matches.
Then on Sunday the Gauchos welcome Arizona, a Pac-12 team that Davis expects to be ranked by the end of the season. Arizona is 5-5 this season and plays Cal Poly Friday afternoon. They have also beaten UC Irvine twice, a team the Gauchos hope to contend with for the Big West Title. Standout players the Gauchos need to be ready for are sophomore Naoki Takeda who has won his last four singles matches, along with senior Fredrik Ask and freshman Will Kneale. The Gauchos hope to use their home court advantage to come out of the weekend victorious.
“We’ve been a tough team to beat at home the last few years and we plan on continuing that,” Davis said.
The Gauchos hope to get large fan support this weekend as the players feel they always play better in front of a crowd. Junior Ziad Sultan and senior Sasha Gryznov will be counted on to give hard-fought performances as the top doubles team and Sultan as the top singles player. These two players will be keys to the team’s success in the matches this weekend.
“College tennis is similar to the Davis Cup,” Davis said. “Loud fans are encouraged, and I hope to see them out at the courts this weekend.”
The Gauchos take on LMU Saturday at 1 p.m. and Arizona at noon on Sunday. Both matches will be played on the tennis courts directly behind the Recreational Center.
A version of this article appeared on page 7 of Feb. 6th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.