INDIAN WELLS, Calif.- Thursday afternoon the top seeded UC Santa Barbara Men's Tennis team punched its ticket to the final round of the Big West Conference Tournament with a 4-0 win over fourth seeded UC Irvine.
The Gauchos will matchup with the second seeded Cal Poly Mustangs in the championship this Saturday, which will be the second time this week the two rivals have met. Santa Barbara bested San Luis Obispo last Saturday 5-2.
In the first matchup of the tournament for the Gauchos, the defending champions took a quick win flexing the consistent strengths that they have had all season.
Santa Barbara jumped out to a 1-0 lead sealing the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. The nation's 76th best doubles team of seniors Nathan Eshmade and Miles Seemann took the first win of the day on court one downing the Anteaters 6-2. The veteran duo of junior co-captain Morgan Mays and Andrew Riminton rallied to win five straight games to seal the doubles round with a 6-4 win on court three despite starting the match trailing 4-1.
The Gauchos were in need of just three singles wins after defeating the Anteaters in the doubles round. Junior co-captain Teague Hamilton and sophomore Cody Rakela answered the call as they have all year playing on the lower courts with two straight set sweeps.
Hamilton was the first off the courts playing at the sixth spot and defeating Vatsal Bajpai 6-4, 6-2. Rakela put the Gauchos in a position to win the match topping Justin Agbanyani 6-4, 6-4 on court five.
Mays was able to seal the match on court three with a sweep of his own over Luca Marquad. The co-captain gave his team the 4-0 win defeating his opponent 6-3, 6-3.
The Big West Tournament Final is set to start this Saturday at 9am in Indian Wells, CA.
Big West Tournament Semi-Finals
No. 1 UC Santa Barbara 4 – No. 4 UC Irvine 0
1) No. 76 Nathan Eshmade/Miles Seemann (UCSB) def. Poon/Agbayani (UCI) 6-2
3) Morgan Mays/Andrew Riminton (UCSB) def. Heim/Mertens (UCI) 6-4
1) Nathan Eshmade (UCSB) vs. Sebastian Heim (UCI) 4-6, 3-2 unif.
2) Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) vs. Nico Mertens (UCI) 7-6(2), 4-1 unif.
3) Morgan Mays (UCSB) def. Luca Marquad (UCI) 6-3, 6-3
4) Anders Holm (UCSB) vs Tyler Pham (UCI) 5-7, 6-0 unif.
5) Cody Rakela (UCSB) def. Justin Agbayani (UCI) 6-4, 6-4
6) Teague Hamilton (UCSB) def. Vatsal Bajpai (UCI) 6-4, 6-2