Gauchos Lose in 4-3 Heartbreaker to San Francisco

Sasha Gryaznov (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Sasha Gryaznov (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – After amassing a large lead in the tie-breaking doubles match, the No. 70 Gauchos (2-2) were unable to put away the University of San Francisco (4-2) and lost the doubles point in what was the deciding point of their 4-3 upset loss to the Dons.

Doubles have been an area of concern for the Gauchos early on in the season and today's match was no different. UCSB dropped their first match in court 3, where USF's Bucalem and Knowlman defeated UCSB duo Benjamin Recknagel and Miles Seemann 8-6. The Gauchos came right back to take an 8-5 win at court 1 as Mbonisi Ndimande and Sultan beat Tu and Schumacher of USF.

The doubles point came down to court 2 where UCSB lost in heartbreaking fashion. Facing a 6-1 deficit, University of San Francisco pair Saraiva and Skajaa battled back and staved off six match points and came back to win 8-7 (6) over UCSB's Axel Bouillin and Sasha Gryaznov.

Coach Marty Davis called the doubles match, "pretty disappointing," given that it "ended up being the difference" in their 4-3 loss.

After dropping the doubles point, USF continued their momentum and won their first three singles matches before UCSB came back and won three of their own to make it a close match though USF already clinched the win.

UCSB suffered losses at courts 6, 3, and 1. At court 6, freshman Jacob Johnson dropped his first match of the season to Germain Bahri 6-2, 6-4. Sophomore Axel Bouillin lost his first match at the No. 3 position, losing his decision to Bernardo Saraiva 6-2, 6-3. Senior Benjamin Recknagel struggled against formerly ranked Thai Tu, and was edged 6-1, 7-6.

The Gauchos battled back to split their singles matches, receiving wins at courts 2, 4, and 5. Senior Mbonisi Ndimande continued his strong play this season, topping William Schumacher 7-6, 6-3 at court 2. Sophomore Ziad Sultan, playing at his usual No. 4 position, edged Rich Van Hout 6-3, 6-7, 6-1. Junior Sasha Gryaznov was also victorious with a 6-7, 6-4, 10-6 decision over Nils Skajaa.

Junior Sasha Gryaznov, though disappointed in the loss at court 2 in doubles, said the team "played well overall" and was able to shake off the loss in doubles to come "back strong for singles." Gryaznov added that the team learned "not to relax before the match is over."

The Gauchos will have a quick turnaround, playing their next match Monday Feb. 18 at No. 37 Santa Clara to conclude their road trip. Action is set to begin at 11:00 AM at the Degheri Tennis Center.

USF 4, No. 70 UCSB 3


1. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) def. Tu/Schumacher (USF) 8-5
2. Saraiva/Skajaa (USF) def. Bouillin/Gryaznov (UCSB) 8-7 (6)
3. Bucalem/Knowlman (USF) def. Recknagel/Seemann (UCSB) 8-6


1. Thai Tu (USF) def. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) 6-1, 7-6
2. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) def. William Schumacher (USF) 7-6, 6-3
3. Bernardo Saraiva (USF) def. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) 6-2, 6-3
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Rich Van Hout (USF) 6-3, 6-7, 6-1
5. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Nils Skajaa (USF) 6-7, 6-4, 10-6
6. Germain Bahri (USF) def. Jacob Johnson (UCSB) 6-2, 6-4

Order of finish: Doubles (3, 1, 2); Singles (6, 3, 1, 2, 5, 4)