INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The No. 5 seeded Gauchos knocked off the No. 4 seed Hawaii to move on to the semifinals of the Big West Championships with a big win against the Rainbow Warriors at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Thursday. UCSB won the doubles point in successive matches at courts 2 and 3 and won three more singles matches in the 4-2 triumph.
UCSB improved to 10-13 on the season and sent Hawaii home with a 7-13 record as the Gauchos move on to face top-seeded UC Irvine on Friday at 3:00 PM.
The Gauchos got off to a strong start in postseason play with UCSB duo Benjamin Recknagel/Axel Bouillin clinching the doubles point for Santa Barbara with an 8-6 victory at court 2. Andrew Riminton/Miles Seemann were first off the court, defeating Spiker/Schuster 8-4 at No. 3 doubles. Play at court 1 was suspended after the Gauchos claimed the 1-0 lead.
UCSB pushed their lead to 3-0 with a pair of straight-set victories by sophomores Axel Bouillin and Ziad Sultan at courts 3 and 4, respectively. Ziad Sultan was first to finish with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Chas Okamoto and Axel Bouillin took down Jared Spiker at the No. 3 position 6-2, 6-4 to give the Gauchos the commanding lead.
UH pushed back with singles wins at courts 6 and 2. At the No. 6 position, Danilo Casanova defeated Jacob Johnson 6-3, 6-3 and at court 2, Dmytro Kovalyov won 7-5, 6-3 over senior Benjamin Recknagel.
With the Gauchos clinging onto a 3-2 lead and senior Mbonisi Ndimande down 5-1 in the third set at the No. 1 position, Sasha Gryaznov pulled off a third set victory to clinch the 4-2 win for his team. Gryaznov was down a set and faced a 2-4 deficit in the second set before fighting off several game points to break Schuhmann and eventually climb back to win the set 6-4. Gryaznov kept his momentum going into the third set with a 6-2 victory over his counterpart from Hawaii.
The Gauchos will resume play at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Friday afternoon, when they take on No. 1 seeded UC Irvine. UCSB previously played the Anteaters at home and lost in a tough 5-2 battle. The Anteaters received a bye and will be playing in their first match of the tournament when they take on the Gauchos. Action is set to begin at 3:00 PM.
UCSB 4, Hawaii 2
1. Ndimande/Sultan (UCSB) vs. Brooklyn/Kovalyov (UH) DNF
2. Recknagel/Bouillin (UCSB) def. Schuhmann/Lam (UH) 8-6
3. Riminton/Seemann (UCSB) def. Spiker/Schuster (UH) 8-4
1. Mbonisi Ndimande (UCSB) vs. Jonathan Brooklyn (UH) DNF
2. Dmytro Kovalyov (UH) def. Benjamin Recknagel (UCSB) 7-5, 6-3
3. Axel Bouillin (UCSB) def. Jared Spiker (UH) 6-2, 6-4
4. Ziad Sultan (UCSB) def. Chas Okamoto (UH) 6-2, 6-2
5. Sasha Gryaznov (UCSB) def. Nils Schuhmann (UH) 1-6, 6-4, 6-2
6. Danilo Casanova (UH) def. Jacob Johnson (UCSB) 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (3, 2); Singles (4, 3, 6, 2, 5)
UCSB SEASON RECORD: 10-13; Big West 3-4