SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior Morgan Mays, who along with his partner Simon Freund was selected to participate in the NCAA Doubles Championships, was named Big West Player of the Year, Marty Davis was selected Big West Coach of the Year and several other UC Santa Barbara players earned all-conference honors, the league announced Thursday.
Mays and Freund are one of just 32 doubles teams selected to participate in the NCAA Championships. They will play their first match on Thursday, May 25 in Athens, Ga., and they are the first Gauchos' tandem to be invited since 1992 when David Decret and Laszlo Markovits represented UCSB.
"This is a great honor for Morgan, Simon and the program," Davis said. "It's been 25 years since we've been represented in the NCAA Doubles Championship and I couldn't be happier for them."
In the fall, Mays and Freund won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southwest Region title and then advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA/USTA National Indoor Tournament in New York. They have been ranked as high as No. 6 nationally and will enter the postseason ranked 35th. They have gone 19-5 overall this season, including 13-4 in dual matches.
Mays becomes the first Gaucho since 2009 to be named top player in the Big West, and the seventh overall. He joins a list that includes Cory Guy (1999), Simon Shen (2000), Carlos Palencia (2002, 2003), Nick Brotman (2006), Philip Therp (2008) and Alex Konigsfeldt (2009-co). Mays, a senior captain, played an important role in leading UCSB to a second straight undefeated regular season title and a third consecutive Big West Tournament championship. Playing between No. 1 and No. 2 singles, Mays compiled a 13-9 dual match record. The Malibu, Calif. native defeated Big West opponents from Hawai'i, UC Davis, UC Irvine and UC Riverside in contributing to UCSB's 5-0 league record. Mays also teamed with Freund to form one of the nation's top doubles teams. They rose as high as No. 6 in the country in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings while compiling a 10-4 record at the No. 1 spot.
"The coaches not only recognized singles, but also doubles play," Davis said. "I have to believe that Morgan's leadership skills did not go unnoticed either. This is awesome and well-deserved on a lot of levels."
Mays was joined on the All-Big West First Team by sophomore Nicolas Moreno de Alboran who went 18-12 in overall singles, including 13-10 in dual matches. Moreno de Alboran played all of his dual matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the lineup. Junior Simon Freund and sophomore Anders Holm were each named second team all-league while junior Cody Rakela was selected honorable mention.
A pair of Gaucho doubles teams were also selected First Team All-Big West. Mays and Freund, which is UCSB's top doubles team, was joined by Moreno de Alboran and Holm, who primarily play at the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
"We got a lot of love from the voters this year and I'm flattered," Davis said.
As for Davis, he added to his record total of Big West Coach of the Year honors with his ninth selection. He received the award for the second consecutive year, and also earned recognition in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012. In his 18th year at UCSB, Davis guided the team to its third consecutive Big West Tournament title and fourth in five years. He is taking a Gaucho team to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time under his guidance and the 13th time overall. Davis also directed the Gauchos to a second consecutive Big West regular season crown as they went 5-0 for the second year in a row and have now won 18 straight matches against league opponents. This year they went 19-5 overall with four of the losses coming to top-10 opponents. The 19 wins represent the most in Davis's career and the second most by a Big West program since 2006.
"I hope this gets me a big bonus," Davis joked. "Seriously, this is a great honor and it is a testament to our team."
Finally, the Gauchos have climbed to No. 37 in the ITA rankings and are poised to finish with their highest ranking since 1998 when they ended the season ranked 23rd.
UCSB, winners of 12 consecutive matches, will play No. 28 Ole Miss in the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament on Friday, May 12 at the Sunset Recreation Center. The match between the Gauchos and Rebels will begin at 10:00 a.m.