The UCSB men’s tennis team had a depressing weekend on the courts, losing to No. 2 USC 7-0 Friday and Fresno State 4-3 yesterday. These two losses drop the team to 2-6 after a string of four straight losses.
On Friday, the Gauchos traveled to USC to take on one of the top teams in the nation, one that could very likely win the NCAA championship this year. The Gauchos lost the doubles point again, with losses from doubles pairs junior Ziad Sultan and senior Sasha Gryaznov as well as junior Tobias Galskov and junior Miles Seemann. The third doubles pair made up of freshmen Teague Hamilton and Erik Johnsson put in a great effort as the pair was tied 7-7 with USC’s freshmen Nick Crystal and Rob Bellamy before they ended their match as the other two double match losses decided the doubles point in favor of the Trojans.
The Gauchos did not fare any better in singles against the Trojans, as all six matches went to USC with the Gauchos not winning a single set. Sultan worked hard to send his second set against senior No. 7 Ray Sarmiento, but eventually lost 6-1, 7-6 (4).
Moving on to their match against Fresno State yesterday afternoon, the Gauchos lost the doubles point on two matches won by the Bulldogs. Yet Galskov/Seemann won their doubles match 8-3 over senior Sam MacNeil and freshman Alexandros Georgios.
This marked the sixth match in a row the Gauchos lost the double point and it ultimately coming back to haunt them in the 4-3 loss. The team will certainly look to improve with conference matches in the very near future.
In singles, Hamilton defeated freshman John Darmstaedter 6-3, 6-0 in the fifth position, giving the Gauchos their first victory. Finishing next were Gryaznov and Sultan’s matches in quick succession with Gryaznov losing to freshman Erik Komati 7-5, 6-1 and Sultan losing to MacNeil 6-2, 6-1.
Galskov played a fantastic match in the number one position, his first time playing there this season. He lost the first set, but came back to win the next two, winning the match over junior Sai Kartik Nakireddi 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. Galskov’s win gave the Gauchos a chance for victory with two matches remaining in the overall battle as the team was already down 3-1.
“I thought we wasted a heroic performance from Tobias,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “Coming back from 5-4 down in the third [set] against a quality guy at No. 1, that was a hell of a battle. It was physical and I felt [Tobias] did most of the work. I’m really proud of Toby’s effort.”
The Gauchos then looked to Seemann and Johnsson, needing both players to win their individual matches. Seemann looked to have his match against freshman Ethan Lopez wrapped up after winning the first set 6-4 and leading in the second set 4-0 while Johnsson had lost the first set 6-2 to sophomore Nikolas Papic yet was battling in the second. With both teams’ players looking on, Johnsson had a 5-4 lead over Papic, but could not finish the set with Papic coming back to win it 7-5 and leading the Bulldogs to victory while Seemann won his match 6-4, 6-1 as merely a consolation prize.
“Teague played his best match of his Gaucho career so far,” Davis said. “Miles had a nice debut, so kudos to those guys but, I’m hugely disappointed overall. We just aren’t accustomed to losing at home and we’ve done it twice already this season, so I’m not too happy with things overall, but we did have a couple good performances today.”
The Gauchos will move on from this weekend looking to more possible lineup changes with the move of Galskov to No. 1 working as he won on Sunday. The team hosts Nevada State on Friday and Pacific on Sunday, looking to change its losing ways.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of the Daily Nexus.