SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UCSB men's tennis team shook off the rust Saturday afternoon as they bounced back from their loss at No. 3- UCLA more than two weeks ago to defeat visiting Loyola Marymount 6-1.
After today's match, Coach Marty Davis said that his team learned a lot coming off their defeat to the highly ranked Bruin squad two weeks ago. He stated the Gauchos, "learned [they] had to serve a lot better" and emphasized that his team also had "to be much more aggressive and assertive in doubles play."
The No. 70-ranked Gauchos did just that on a windy Saturday afternoon at the Rec Cen courts, where they were able to gain the doubles point in an important tie-breaker match. The duo of Axel Bouillin and Sasha Gryaznov got things going for UCSB at court No.2, defeating LMU pair Zapala and Simko 8-6 but the Gauchos dropped their match at the No. 1 position, as Mbonisi Ndimande and Ziad Sultan couldn't top the Lions' Bjerke and Bustamante. The Gauchos came right back at court No. 3 where Recknagel and Miles Seemann slipped by LMU's Volmari and Northcott 8-7 to take the doubles point.
Coach Davis believes winning the "tiebreaker for the opening point … set the tone" and went on to say the match "would've been a dogfight if we hadn't won the doubles point, so that was critical."
Instead of a dogfight, the Gauchos dominated the LMU squad winning five out of a possible 6 singles points and cruised to a 6-1 win after a shaky start. Senior Mbonisi Ndimande was first off the court at the #3 position, defeating Todd Volmari 6-2, 6-0. Sophomore Ziad Sultan and junior Sasha Gryaznov followed suit with wins over Northcott and Simko, respectively.
UCSB had a couple of marathon matches at courts No. 1 and 5. Senior Benjamin Recknagel overcame a slow start against LMU No. 1 Nicholas Bjerke in his first set, winning by a slim 7-6 score and seemed to find his groove in the second set where he eased to a 6-3 win. Freshman Jacob Johnson also had a long match at court No. 5 where he started strong with a 6-3 win in his first set but dropped the second set 0-6. In a tie-breaker filled with long rallies and lots of emotion, Johnson came back to defeat Bustamante 12-10.
The Gauchos only loss came at court No. 2 as sophomore Axel Bouillin dropped his match against LMU's Kordsachia 6-3, 6-4.
Coach Davis said he "was real pleased from the effort from the guys" in light of the long layoff and difficult windy conditions. He also stated that "this [was] a meaningful match against a talented team" and thought his team "flat out, out-competed" LMU.
UCSB will head on the road next weekend to take on a couple of opponents from the Bay Area. The Gauchos will begin the road trip in San Francisco to take on USF on Saturday Feb. 16 starting at 1:00 PM. UCSB's match scheduled against Cal on Feb. 17 was canceled, so the Gauchos will get a day off before traveling south to face No. 37 Santa Clara University on Monday Feb. 18 at 11:00 AM.
No. 70 UCSB 6, LMU 1
1. Bjerke/Bustamante (LMU) def. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) 8-4
2. Bouillin/Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Zapala/Simko (LMU) 8-6
3. Recknagel/Seemann (UCSB) def. Volmari/Northcott (LMU) 8-7
1. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) def. Nicholas Bjerke (LMU) 7-6, 6-3
2. Othar Kordsachia (LMU) def. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) 6-3, 6-4
3. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) def. Todd Volmari (LMU) 6-2, 6-0
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Nick Northcott (LMU) 6-2, 6-1
5. Jacob Johnson (UCSB) def. Sebastian Bustamante (LMU) 6-3, 0-6, (12-10)
6. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Daniel Simko (LMU) 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3); Singles (3, 4, 6, 2, 1, 5)
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 2-1; BIG WEST 0-0