Though the UCSB men’s tennis team’s overall season has been over since the first week of May, the accolades and program-firsts have yet to stop rolling in. Beginning this past Monday, three of UCSB’s best men’s tennis players traveled across the country to the Sunshine State to compete in the NCAA singles and doubles championships.
No. 56 junior Joseph Guillin and No. 16 senior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran represented the Gauchos in the singles portion, and Moreno de Alboran paired up with senior co-captain Anders Holm to compete in doubles.
On Tuesday, Moreno de Alboran and Holm pulled off a massive upset, knocking off Ohio State’s No. 13 seniors Martin Joyce and Hunter Tubert. This victory made them the first duo in program history ever to advance in the doubles competition.
The duo delivered an impressive three-set performance — 6-3, 5-7, [10-8] — sandwiching their opponents with wins in both the first and third sets.
Unfortunately, the pairing’s run in the tournament came to a halt on Wednesday. In the round of 16, Tennessee’s senior Timo Stodder and redshirt senior Preston Touliatos — ranked sixth in the nation — handed Holm and Moreno de Alboran only their second loss in their past 12 matches.
After losing the first set 6-1, the duo displayed their resilience, battling back to take the second set 6-4. Ultimately, however, the pairing’s season ended after they dropped the tiebreaker set 10-5.
As for the singles championships, junior Joseph Guillin, ranked 56th in the nation, defeated his most competitive opponent, No. 43 sophomore Gabriel Decamps from UCF, in the first round of the singles championships.
Closely ranked and both at-large bids, the two battled an arduous three sets. Decamps took an immediate lead, winning the first set 4-1. Guillin, however, switched the momentum to his side and physically outcompeted his opponent. Forcing a tiebreaker in the second and watching Decamps go down with a cramp in the third, he clinched two more crucial wins — 3-6, 7-6, 2-0 (retired) — to secure the overall victory.
Snagging this three-set win in the first round of singles moved Guillin into the second round and put him in the running to be named an All-American alongside teammate Nicolas Moreno de Alboran.
But on Tuesday, Mississippi State’s No. 61 junior Giovanni Ordini capped Guillin’s 2018-19 season with a 3-6, 1-6 defeat.
Despite the loss and consequently the claim to an All-American title, the Parisian impressively became just the sixth Gaucho in program history to advance into the second round of the NCAA singles championships.
He closes his season with a cleanly-split overall record at 24-12 with seven notable wins against nationally ranked opponents.
Surprisingly, Moreno de Alboran’s run was abruptly ended in the first round. The senior steadily secured the first set, but a hefty loss in the second required a crucial battle to snatch the third. From there, it took great composure for Texas A&M’s No. 58 sophomore Hady Habib to ultimately take out the number one Gaucho 3-6, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
Concluding his singles season now with a 28-9 overall record, Moreno de Alboran finishes at the top of the 2018-19 Gaucho roster. His impact on the team and the program overall seems undeniable, and as a result of his outstanding year, the New York native will go down in Gaucho history as an All-American.
Although Guillin, Moreno de Alboran and Holm are all eliminated now, 2019 proved to be another great year for UCSB men’s tennis. With Guillin returning next season for his senior year, look for the Gauchos to come back stronger than ever next season.