LOS ANGELES, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara men's tennis was eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament after dropping a competitive 4-2 match to No. 19-ranked Texas Tech at the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
The No. 52 Gauchos fell just short in their upset bid as the Red Raiders downed Santa Barbara in the doubles competition and won three of the five completed singles matches to earn the 4-2 victory.
The Gauchos' season ends at 15-10 while Texas Tech improves to 19-8 on the season and moves on to face No. 16 UCLA in the second round of tournament play on Saturday.
Santa Barbara had a slow start to the day as the Red Raiders won matches at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
At the No. 3 court, Texas Tech's Connor Curry and Francisco Zambon raced out to a 7-2 lead against the Gauchos' sophomore Morgan Mays and junior Andrew Riminton before the Gaucho duo battled back to make the score 6-7. The Gaucho's No. 2 tandem couldn't complete the comeback, however, as Curry and Zambon took the first doubles match, 8-6.
Jolan Cailleau and Alex Sendegeya clinched the doubles point for the Red Raiders after winning their match against senior Tobias Galskov and sophomore Teague Hamilton, 8-4 at No. 2 doubles. Play was suspended at the No. 1 court, where junior Nathan Eshmade and sophomore Erik Johnsson were locked in a 6-6 tie with the No. 22-ranked doubles pairing of Hugo Dojas and Felipe Soares.
"I thought the level of tennis was pretty good," said head coach Marty Davis. "I was pleased with the way we fought."
Texas Tech used the momentum from doubles to earn victories at No. 3 and No. 4 singles to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
However, the Gauchos didn't go down without a fight as Nathan Eshmade and Erik Johnsson won their matches at No. 2 and No. 5 singles, respectively, to make the score 3-2.
Eshmade overcame a first set loss against Hugo Dojas to take his next two sets 6-2, 6-1 and provide the Gauchos' first point of the match.
Erik Johnsson followed up with a victory in straight sets at the No. 5 court as he downed Francisco Zambon 6-4, 7-6 to narrow the Red Raiders' lead to one.
Texas Tech halted the Gauchos' comeback and eliminated UCSB from the NCAA tournament after No. 37-ranked Felipe Soares defeated Tobias Galskov in a three-set battle, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Play was suspended at the No. 6 court after Texas Tech clinched the match victory.
"I'm proud of the guys, I think they played well," commented Davis. "The improvement from the beginning of the season to today was evident in everybody's play."
With NCAA Tournament experience under their belts, the young Gaucho team hopes to improve upon their performance from this season.
"Our goal is to be Sweet Sixteen-good in the next three or four years so hopefully this taste of the NCAA and having a competitive match will help us get there," said Davis.
#19 Texas Tech 4, #52 UC Santa Barbara 2
May 08, 2015 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)
1. #22 Hugo Dojas/Felipe Soares (TTU) vs. Nathan Eshmade/Erik Johnsson (UCSB) 6-6, unfinished
2. Jolan Cailleau/Alex Sendegeya (TTU) def. Tobias Galskov/Teague Hamilton (UCSB) 8-4
3. Connor Curry/Francisco Zambon (TTU) def. Morgan Mays/Andrew Riminton (UCSB) 8-6
1. #37 Felipe Soares (TTU) def. Tobias Galskov (UCSB) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
2. Nathan Eshmade (UCSB) def. Hugo Dojas (TTU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
3. #117 Alex Sendegeya (TTU) def. Morgan Mays (UCSB) 6-3, 7-5
4. #123 Jolan Cailleau (TTU) def. Cody Rakela (UCSB) 6-2, 6-2
5. Erik Johnsson (UCSB) def. Francisco Zambon (TTU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Connor Curry (TTU) vs. Teague Hamilton (UCSB) 7-6 (7-4), 5-4, unfinished
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (4,3,2,5,1)
UC Santa Barbara 15-10; National ranking #52
Texas Tech 19-8; National ranking #19