SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the first time in the UCSB men's tennis program's history, the Gauchos completed their season undefeated at home (9-0) by defeating rivals, No. 50 Cal Poly in dominating fashion. The No. 70 Gauchos edged the Mustangs in a close and competitive doubles competition and went on to down the Mustangs in all but one singles match to seal the 6-1 victory on Senior Day.
The Mustangs had the early momentum in doubles play, winning a match at No. 1 doubles and leading at the remaining two courts, but the Gauchos battled back to win matches at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to earn the 1-0 lead.
Sophomore Morgan Mays and junior Andrew Riminton were down two breaks at 4-1 but proved resilient as they climbed back to tie the match at 4-4 and eventually won 7-5 at No. 3 doubles.
At the No. 2 court, junior Nathan Eshmade and sophomore Erik Johnsson were also down a break before storming back to take their match 7-5 for a team-high 12th doubles victory.
"A couple things we've really focused on are how we compete and our composure and I think we made big strides there today," said head coach Marty Davis. "I think the doubles really highlighted our improvement."
The Gauchos' comeback in doubles set the tone for the singles competition where UCSB won five of the six singles matches.
At No. 6 singles, sophomore Teague Hamilton added to the Gauchos lead by beating Axel Damiens in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 to extend his win streak to four. Freshman Cody Rakela provided the third UCSB point of the match after downing Lucas Lesoeur 6-3, 6-4 to improve his record to 13-8 in dual match play.
The Mustangs used a win at No. 2 singles to stay alive in the match at 3-1 but the Gauchos closed the door on their rivals after sophomore Morgan Mays posted a 7-6, 6-3 win at the No. 3 court to clinch the victory at 4-1.
The two teams continued play at No. 1 and No. 5 singles, where Tobias Galskov and Erik Johnsson were locked in three-set battles at their respective courts.
Johnsson added to the Gaucho lead with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win against Naveen Beasley before senior Tobias Galskov closed out his Senior Day match with an impressive 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Ben Donovan at the No. 1 court to make the final score 6-1.
"At the end of the day, I think our fitness came through in the last two long matches," said Davis. "I thought we looked really strong."
The Gauchos also took time to celebrate their graduating seniors in their Senior Day match. After the doubles competition, head coach Marty Davis honored Gaucho seniors Tobias Galskov and Ziad Sultan as well as senior Greg Scott, whose collegiate tennis career was cut short by injuries but who nonetheless, remained an important part of the team.
"They've meant a lot to our program," Davis said of his graduating seniors. "All three of those guys have done a lot to advance this program."
"This match really brought everything full circle," said senior Ziad Sultan in reflection of his time at UCSB. "It's so nice to beat Cal Poly and go undefeated at home. I'm happy with the way we've played this season and we have a lot of momentum going into the Big West."
The Gauchos will open Big West Tournament play as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed beginning on Thursday at Indian Wells.
#50 Cal Poly at #70 UC Santa Barbara
April 18, 2015 at Santa Barbara, Calif. (Rec Cen Courts)
#70 UC Santa Barbara 6, #50 Cal Poly 1
1. Ben Donovan/Cory Pang (CP) def. Tobias Galskov/Ziad Sultan (UCSB) 6-4
2. Nathan Eshmade/Erik Johnsson (UCSB) def. Garrett Auproux/Devin Barber (CP) 7-5
3. Morgan Mays/Andrew Riminton (UCSB) def. Lucas Lesoeur/Axel Damiens (CP) 7-5
1. Tobias Galskov (UCSB) def. Ben Donovan (CP) 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
2. Garrett Auproux (CP) def. Nathan Eshmade (UCSB) 7-5, 6-3
3. Morgan Mays (UCSB) def. Cory Pang (CP) 7-6, 6-3
4. Cody Rakela (UCSB) def. Lucas Lesoeur (CP) 6-3, 6-4
5. Erik Johnsson (UCSB) def. Naveen Beasley (CP) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
6. Teague Hamilton (UCSB) def. Axel Damiens (CP) 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: Doubles (1, 3, 2); Singles (6, 4, 2, 3, 5, 1)
UCSB Season Record: Overall (12-9); Big West (3-2)
Cal Poly Season Record: Overall (14-9); Big West (3-2)