SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sunday afternoon the No. 51 UCSB Men's Tennis team played its third straight match that was decided by just one point. Behind four singles wins, the Gauchos defeated No. 47 Denver 4-3 to add their 10th win on the season.
The Gauchos got out to a slow start dropping the doubles point for the first time in six matches. The freshmen team of Anders Holm and Nicolas Moreno de Alboran registered one win for Santa Barbara defeating Yannik James and Jesse Ruder-Hook 6-4 on court two. The Pioneers would answer in two close matches gaining wins on one and three to seal the 1-0 lead overall.
Heading into singles play Denver would build on its lead taking the first match on court one. With a 6-2, 6-2 win over Eshmade, Henry Craig gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead leaving them just two away from clinching the match.
Despite trailing by two, the Gauchos were determined to add to their win column and end their two-match skid. With the help of the some of the team's youngest players, Santa Barbara would capture a 3-2 lead winning three straight matches on the lower courts.
Freshman Anders Holm was the first off for the Gauchos with a win on court four. Holm defeated Alex Gasson in a three-set match 6-2, 1-6, 6-2 to add another win to his team best singles record of 11-3 in dual match play.
Sophomore Cody Rakela tied the match at 2-2 with his 7-5, 7-5 win over James on court five. Rakela came away with a straight-set sweep despite trailing multiple games in the second.
Freshman Oliver Sec gave the Gauchos their first lead of the day taking a win on court six over Ruder-Hook. He won in straight sets of 7-5, 6-3 to put Santa Barbara just one match away from the overall win.
The Gauchos looked to courts two and three where both matches were decided in a third set tie-breaker. Both Gaucho players in Moreno de Alboran and junior co-captain Morgan Mays trailed in the third set and Denver looked to close out the match with this lead.
Santa Barbara would find it's answer on court three as Mays took a third set win despite trailing 4-1 to start. He defeated David Fox 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 winning five straight games to finish off the third and seal the overall win for UCSB.
With a win on court two for Denver the final score was set at 4-3 in Santa Barbara's favor. The Gauchos improve their record to 10-6 overall in dual match play and are now 4-2 at home.
Santa Barbara will look to open up Big West Conference play this Friday hosting Hawaii at 10am at the Rec Cen Courts.
FINAL MATCH RESULTS
No. 51 UCSB 4 – No. 47 Denver 3
2) Nicolas Moreno de Alboran/Anders Holm def. Yannik James/ Jesse Ruder-Hook 6-4
3) Zach Fryer/Diogo Rocha def. Morgan Mays/Andrew Riminton 7-6
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3
1) Henry Craig def. Nathan Eshmade 6-2, 6-2
2) Diogo Rocha def. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran 3-6, 6-2, 7-5
3) Morgan Mays def. David Fox 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
4) Anders Holm def. Alex Gasson 6-2, 1-6, 6-2
5) Cody Rakela def. Yannik James 7-5, 7-5
6) Oliver Sec def. Jesse Ruder-Hook 7-5, 6-3
Order of Finish: 1, 4, 6, 5, 3, 2