After a huge win against the UC Irvine Anteaters, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos clinched the Big West Championship, sending them to the first round of the NCAA tournament. This Friday, May 5, the Gauchos faced the University of San Diego Toreros in what would be the Gauchos’ last game of the season, a 1-4 loss wrapping up their otherwise incredible season.
Going into the match, UCSB was ranked No. 38 with an overall record of 22-4, and USD was ranked No. 30 with an overall record of 18-7. Although the Toreros had a 4-1 victory over the Gauchos, the match stayed very close from set to set in the singles and doubles matches.
To kick off the match, USD took a lead after freshman Stian Klaassen and freshman Oliver Tarvet overtook freshman Conrad Brown and junior Luka Mrsic in a 6-2 win. USD held their 1-0 lead over UCSB after sophomore Iiro Vasa and junior Sacchitt Sharrma beat junior Kai Brady and junior Phillip Jordan in a close 6-4 win. Heading into the singles matches, the Toreros had a strong lead over the Gauchos.
To start off the singles matches, UCSB’s junior Pablo Masjuan defeated Vasa in 2 sets, with the first set going 6-2 and the second set going 6-4. This huge win tied up the match, getting the Gauchos back into the match.
Later on, Tarvet defeated Jordan in 2 sets lasting 6-3 and 6-2, which put the Toreros back on top with a 2-1 lead.
USD built onto their lead when junior Marvin Schaber beat freshman Lucca Liu in a very close 3-set match, with the first 2 sets going to a tiebreaker where each player split and the last set going in Schaber’s favor with a 6-3 win. This win gave the Torero’s a dominant 3-1 lead over the Gauchos.
To finish up the match, freshman Lambert Ruland defeated Brown in 3 sets, with each set going 4-6, 6-1 and 6-4. This win gave the Toreros a dominant 4-1 victory over the Gauchos, sending them to the second round of the NCAA tournament and ending the Gauchos’ unprecedentedly successful season.
Throughout the match, multiple games went unfinished. The unfinished doubles match was called at a score of 5-4 between Ruland and Schaber of USD and sophomore Gianluca Brunkow and Masjuan of UCSB. Additionally, 2 of the singles matches went unfinished. One of those matches was between Sharrma of USD and Mrsic of UCSB. The first 2 sets in this match went 6-2 and 1-6, and the third set was unfinished at 4-4. The second singles match was between Stian Klaassen of USD and freshman Gianluca Brunkow of UCSB. This match lasted 3 sets, with the first going 6-1 and 6-7 and the last set 3-2.
Although the Toreros had a substantial win over the Gauchos, the individual matches remained very close and UCSB put up a strong fight. This loss knocked the Gauchos out of the NCAA tournament, but it was a huge accomplishment to make it to the tournament. After such an outstanding season, the Gauchos future looks very bright.