Gauchos Capture Big West Title With 4-1 Win Over Cal Poly

The UCSB men's tennis team (above) looks on after clinching their third straight Big West title on Sunday.
The UCSB men's tennis team (above) looks on after clinching their third straight Big West title on Sunday.

Indian Wells, Calif.- In what has turned out to be an outstanding year for UCSB men's tennis, the top-seeded Gauchos added to their fortuitous season on Sunday defeating third-seed Cal Poly 4-1 to secure the Big West title.

The victory extends UCSB's win streak to 12 games- a program-high- and pushes their record to 19-5, it's best since the 1988 season.  

Cal Poly finishes out the year with an overall record of 18-8. 

Resuming their tightly contested matchup on April 22nd, which ended in a 5-2 victory, the Gauchos competed on all courts rolling past their opponents in doubles play to start off the match.

Cal Poly finished first on court 3 as Garrett Auprox and Axel Damiens took home a 6-4 win over Cody Rakela and Kristian Prior. UCSB leveled out the score on court 2, as Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm defeated Karl Enander and Timothy Tan with a 6-2 score.

"This match was definitely different from our previous one," senior captain Morgan Mays said. "Being played at a neutral site and the Big West Tournament on the line we knew the Mustangs would fight until the last ball. We had to play our best, most focused tennis and we succeeded."

Similar to last week's matchup, the doubles point came down to court 1 between No. 30 Morgan Mays/Simon Freund and No. 62 Corey Pang/Ben Donovan.

Arguably their toughest double tandem faced all year, Mays and Freund buckled down when it mattered most persevering past three tiebreakers for match point.

Getting the break they needed, the Gaucho tandem were able to put away Pang and Donovan, 7-6 (3), for the final score. 

"Doubles point was as intense as it could be," Mays said. "We had lots of break points and weren't able to convert but we played a solid breaker to win. That point was big and it gave us a lot of momentum heading into singles."

While Corey Pang responded with a 6-4, 6-4 victory at No. 1 singles to set off singles play, UCSB continued to remain poised and unrattled. 

Sophomore Anders swept past Joshua Ortlip, 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 4 position swaying the momentum back in favor of the Gauchos. 

Simon Freund also came up big on court 3 grinding past Auprox 7-6 (6), 6-0 to put Santa Barbara up 3-1.

With one more victory in sight, Nicolas Moreno de Alboran closed the deal beating out Donovan 6-0, 4-6, 6-2 for a well-deserved win. 

"We just gave it our all, stayed the course, and came away with another Big West title," said Mays.

This is Santa Barbara's third straight Big West championship and it's fourth in the last five years. The Gauchos also made program history Sunday morning becoming the second team to win three straight conference titles since the 2006-2009 season. 

In favorable position for a trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Gauchos wait alongside the NCAA selection committee for a tournament at-large bid.

UCSB will find out Tuesday where their NCAA Regional game will be held. The NCAA selection show will takes place on Tuesday at 5 p.m. E.T.

"Winning the Big West never gets old," said head coach Marty Davis. "We hope we can stretch this win streak to 14 giving us a trip to the Sweet Sixteen in Athens." 

BIG WEST MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN
SUNDAY, APRIL 30
(1) UC SANTA BARBARA 4, (3) CAL POLY 1


Doubles
1. Mays/Freund (UCSB) def. Pang/Donovan (CP) 7-6 (3)
2. Moreno/Holm (UCSB) def. Karl Enander/Timothy Tan (CP) - 6-2
3. Auproux/Damiens (CP) def. Rakela/Kristian Prior (UCSB) - 6-4

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

Singles 
1. Corey Pang (CP) def. Morgan Mays (UCSB) - 6-4, 6-4
2. Nicolas Moreno (UCSB) def. Ben Donovan (CP) - 6-0, 4-6, 6-2
3. Simon Freund (UCSB) def. Garrett Auproux (CP) - 7-6 (6), 6-0
4. Anders Holm (UCSB) def. Joshua Ortlip (CP) - 6-4, 6-4
5. Cody Rakela (UCSB) vs. Axel Damiens (CP) - 6-1, 6-7 (3), 4-1 (unfinished)
6. Chase Masciorini (UCSB) vs. Antoine Noel (CP) - 6-0, 4-6, 2-5 (unfinished)

Order of finish: 1, 4, 3, 2