Gauchos Start Strong in UCSB Classic

Axel Bouillin (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UCSB men's tennis season got off to a good start Friday, as the Gauchos kicked off their season at home in the UCSB Classic tournament.

The Gauchos and players from seven other visiting schools began their first round of matches in the "compass draw" style tournament Friday afternoon, beginning with doubles play.

UCSB played in the top two flights, A and B, racking up wins in each of their respective match-ups. The veteran duo of Ziad Sultan and Mbonisi Ndimande defeated UC San Diego 8-5 in their flight A draw.

In flight B, Axel Bouillin and Sasha Gryaznov beat a pair from Northern Arizona 8-2 while newcomer Miles Seemann and senior Benjamin Recknagel closed out a tight match against UC Davis to win 9-8.

The Gauchos had similar success in the first round of singles play. In flight A, Mbonisi Ndimande picked up where he left off last season, defeating Kyle Miller of UC Davis in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 and Axel Bouillin won 6-3, 6-1 over Rob Martin of Northern Arizona. 

In flight B, the Gauchos continued their strong start as senior Benjamin Recknagel, named to the First Team All-Big West in singles last season, came up with a decisive win 6-1, 6-1 over Cal player Jordan Smith.  Sasha Gryaznov also came out of the gates strong with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Alan Barrios of Northern Arizona. 

The newest additions to the Gauchos, Miles Seemann and Jake Johnson, had successful debuts as both players came back and won tight matches. SBCC transfer, Seemann, won against Max Jiganti of UC San Diego 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 and freshman Jake Johnson won 4-6,6-2,7-6 over Brett Bacharach of UC Davis.

UCSB's lone loss of the day came in a 6-2,6-2 loss by Ziad Sultan to Nevada's Andrew Poustie in flight A.

After the first day of matches, the Gauchos posted nine total wins, a tournament high for UCSB. Cal Poly, UC Davis, and Nevada followed with five wins each, while Cal had three wins, UCSD and Westmont had one, and Northern Arizona had came away with none. 

The UCSB Classic will continue tomorrow at 9 AM, beginning with one round of doubles matches and two rounds of singles play. The tournament will conclude Sunday with one more round of doubles and singles matches.