UCSB Men’s Tennis Wins in 4-3 Thriller at St. John’s

Ziad Sultan (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ziad Sultan (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. – With the score tied at 3-3, UCSB's match against St. John's University came down to court 4 where sophomore Ziad Sultan defeated St. John's Mike Lampa 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in a three set marathon match to clinch the 4-3 win for the Gauchos.

After their two week layoff, the Gauchos got off to a good start by gaining the doubles point in the opening game of their East Coast road trip. Partners Miles Seemann and Andrew Riminton, who were only playing their second doubles match together, were first to finish their match with a 8-3 victory over Mihai/Every at court 3.

Axel Bouillin and Sasha Gryaznov followed up with a win at court 2, where they had a back and forth battle with St. John's Morth and Mozer. The Red Storm duo was up 6-5 at one point but couldn't hold onto their lead as Bouillin and Gryaznov came storming back to gain the doubles point for UCSB with a 9-7 win. Play was suspended at court 1 after the Gauchos clinched the doubles point.

Coach Marty Davis was obviously pleased with the doubles effort and said "it was the difference in the end."

Just as they did in their match at Santa Clara, the Gauchos dominated in doubles play to get out to a quick 1-0 lead, but this time the team battled in singles play to split their matches for the 4-3 victory and even their record on the season at 3-3.

Sophomore Axel Bouillin got the Gauchos on the board in singles play with a quick 6-1, 6-2 win over St. John's Mark Mozer to help UCSB grab a 2-0 lead.

The Red Storm pushed back and the Gauchos dropped their next two matches at courts 1 and 2. Senior Mbonisi Ndimande, who moved to the No. 1 position in singles for the first time this season, was defeated 6-1, 6-2 by Vasko Mladenov.  Senior Benjamin Recknagel was shifted to the No. 2 position, where he lost 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 to Valentin Mihai.

With the game knotted up at 2-2, Coach Marty Davis said it "didn't look too good" for his team as all three remaining Gauchos lost in the first set. The game came down to the matches at courts 4, 5, and 6, leading to an exciting finish.

At court 6, freshman Jacob Johnson lost his first set 6-2 but battled hard to tie the match at one set apiece with a 6-7 win in the second set. Johnson couldn't keep up the momentum, however, and lost 6-3 in the third set.

At the No. 4 and No. 5 positions, both Ziad Sultan and Sasha Gryaznov let their leads slip in the first set, but came back to win in the second set. Gryaznov was able to put away Hugo Morth 6-3 in the third set to bring the game back to a tie at 3-3.

The thrilling match came to a close at court 4, where Ziad Sultan took down Mike Lampa with a clutch 6-4 victory in the third set. Coach Davis called the sophomore the "hero of the game" given that his victory gave the Gauchos the win.

UCSB will look to carry their momentum into tomorrow's match at #55 Princeton. Action is set to begin at 11:00 AM (EST).

UCSB 4, St. John's 3


1. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) vs. Mladenov/Lampa (STJ) Unfinished, 4-6
2. Bouillin/Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Morth/Mozer (STJ) 9-7
3. Seemann/Riminton (UCSB) def. Mihai/Every (STJ) 8-3


1. Vasko Mladenov (STJ) def. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) 6-1, 6-2
2. Valentin Mihai (STJ) def. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) 6-4, 0-6, 6-4
3. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) def. Mark Mozer (STJ) 6-1, 6-2
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Mike Lampa (STJ) 6-7, 6-3, 6-4
5. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Hugo Morth (STJ) 6-7, 6-4, 6-3
6. Michael-John Every (STJ) def. Jacob Johnson (UCSB) 6-2, 6-7, 6-3

Order of Finish: Doubles (3, 2, 1); Singles (3, 1, 2, 6, 5, 4)
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 3-3; Big West 0-0