UCSB Struggles in Opening Action at So Cal Intercollegiate

Chase Masciorini (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Chase Masciorini (photo by Eric Isaacs)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — It was a disappointing beginning for three of the UC Santa Barbara's men's tennis athletes competing at the 61st Annual Southern California Intercollegiate Championships on Thursday.

"It was a pretty disappointing day, going 1-3 on the first day of singles was not the result we were hoping for," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "There was not much good to take away from any of the action we saw today."

Freshman Ajai Shekhera, redshirt freshman Joseph Rotheram, and senior Chase Masciorini all participated in the day's action but all three could not advance to play tomorrow's round of action.

Masciorini, after a disappointing effort in the ITA Southwest Regionals in which he did not pick up singles win in qualifying or consolation action, managed to pick up his first win of the tournament season in his Round of 64 match rather easily defeating UC San Diego's Zachary Ermert, 6-1, 6-4. The ninth-seeded player in the field was then upset by UC Davis's David Goulak losing in straight sets 6-3, 6-2.

Both Shekhera and Rotheram did not even get as far as their senior counterpart losing their first matches of the morning. Shekhera lost in straight sets despite a valiant effort in the first, 7-6, 6-2 to BYU's Jeffrey Hsu.

For Rotheram, Thursday's loss was extra disappointing considering the great strides he had to appear to make at both the UCSB Classic and the ITA Regionals where he picked up key wins against players from Hawaii, Washington, Cal etc. The Manhattan Beach native lost to UCD's Jonathan Star in three sets tallied, 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6).

All three athletes will get a chance at redemption when the consolation portion of the tournament begins on Saturday.

Senior Simon Freund will be making his debut in the tournament tomorrow and will hope to represent the Gauchos well tomorrow as he got a bid to play in the main draw of the tournament.

"I am really excited to get some redemption from last week where I thought I underperformed it," Freund said. "Looking at the draws I know I have tough matches ahead of me but to be the best you have to beat the best so I am happy to get a crack at some of these guys, but I know I have to get through my first match."

Freund will be hoping to build upon the varied success he has made during the fall tournament schedule with a consolation championship appearance at the ITA Oracle Masters, a consolation title victory at the UCSB Classic and a Round of 16 appearance at the Regionals. He's earned wins over athletes from UCLA, Pepperdine, New Mexico State and more.

The senior will be taking on Bruce Man-Son-Hing of UC Irvine in his Round of 32 match beginning at 10 a.m.

"I am hoping to see more attacking and better serving from Simon this week, that will make a huge difference," Davis said.

In doubles play, the team of Masciorini and Shekhera will hope to pick up a win as the pair take on BYU's Jacob Tullis and Benjamin Gajardo in the opening round of the open doubles qualifier.

Rotheram, alongside doubles partner Freund, will begin his doubles run on Saturday in the main draw of the tournament against a team yet to be determined.

"We get along great and he has improved a lot lately so I am excited and I think for sure Joey will be a great partner to play with," Freund said.

The Gauchos continue their run at the SoCal Intercollegiate Championships on Friday, October 27 at 10 a.m. with singles action.