SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – With the score all tied up at 3-3, UCSB's match against Florida Gulf Coast (6-5) came down to the No. 3 court where junior Nathan Eshmade defeated FGCU's Ricky Ventura in an exciting 7-6, 6-4 match to help the Gauchos remain perfect at home.
Eshmade proved resilient in his battle against Ventura with the match and perfect home record on the line. In the first set, the junior overcame a 5-1 deficit in the tiebreak to take the opening set 7-6 and broke Ventura at 5-4 after the FGCU junior battled back from 5-2 in the second set to clinch the match.
Head coach Marty Davis commended the junior's play, saying "He didn't hang his head and didn't get despondent. He moved right on to the next game and played a tremendous last game.
To win in a situation like this where there's a lot of pressure is great for Nate and great for the rest of the guys to see that too," continued Davis.
The Gauchos started the match on a positive note with a strong win in doubles to take the 1-0 lead. Eshmade and sophomore Erik Johnsson downed Austin Bates and Tianyu Bao 6-3 at the No. 2 court to open the doubles competition but FGCU quickly tied it after their No. 1 team defeated Gaucho seniors Tobias Galskov and Ziad Sultan.
The doubles point was decided by the match at No. 3 doubles, where Morgan Mays and Andrew Riminton faced two break points down 30-40 at 5-4 against Ricky Ventura and Lucas Vaz. Morgan Mays ripped two aces to clinch the 1-0 lead and extend the winning streak at No. 3 doubles to six.
Singles play was a back and forth affair, with the two teams trading off victories until the Gauchos clinched the match at 4-3.
FGCU tied the match at 1-1 after Michael Beiler defeated Andrew Riminton at No. 6 singles, 6-1, 6-3 but the Gauchos took back the lead when impressive freshman Cody Rakela dropped Eduardo Alfonzo 6-1, 6-4.
"Cody is a remarkable freshman," said Marty Davis. "He continues to grow as a player and we felt really good about his match."
The Eagles won the next two matches at No. 2 and No. 5 singles to move within one point of winning the match at 3-2.
Senior Tobias Galskov came up with yet another big win at No. 1 singles to tie the match at 3-all. The senior won a tough first set tiebreak before cruising to a 6-2 second set victory to snap No. 107 Jordi Vives' eight match win streak.
The Gauchos' 4-3 victory improves their record to 4-6 on the season and 4-0 at home while the loss drops the Eagles to 6-5.
"We're making progress," commented Davis on the team's play. "[The result] is really positive for us, we needed to win one 4-3."
The Gauchos will return to the courts on Sunday when they take on Gonzaga at the Rec Cen Courts, beginning at 1:00 pm.
UCSB 4, FGCU 3
March 5, 2015
Rec Cen Courts (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
1. Jordi Vives/Andres Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Tobias Galskov/Ziad Sultan (UCSB) – 6-2
2. Nathan Eshmade/Erik Johnsson (UCSB) def. Austin Bates/Tianyu Bao (FGCU) – 6-3
3. Morgan Mays/Andrew Riminton (UCSB) def. Ricky Ventura/Lucas Vaz (FGCU) – 6-4
1. Tobias Galskov (UCSB) def. No. 107 Jordi Vives (FGCU) – 7-6, 6-2
2. Andres Alfonzo (FGCU) def. Morgan Mays (UCSB) – 6-4, 6-4
3. Nathan Eshmade (UCSB) def. Ricky Ventura (FGCU) – 7-6, 6-4
4. Cody Rakela (UCSB) def. Eduardo Alfonzo (FGCU) – 6-1, 6-4
5. Tianyu Bao (FGCU) def. Teague Hamilton (UCSB) – 7-6, 6-3
6. Michael Beiler (FGCU) def. Andrew Riminton (UCSB) – 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles (2, 1, 3); Singles (6, 4, 2, 5, 1, 3)
UCSB Season Record: Overall (4-6); Big West (0-1)