ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This weekend brought nothing but disappointment to the UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team following a 4-3 heartbreaking loss to No. 48 New Mexico sending the Gauchos back home without accomplishing their goal of winning their first road match of the year.
UCSB (5-4) is now 0-3 in true road matches this season, and now has lost two consecutive games.
"We stole the opening doubles point and early on we felt really good. Then we blew some opportunites, lost some match points that could have sealed a win and that was just really disappointing," Davis said.
At first, the Gauchos jumped out to a quick start and had all the signs of a team that was about to pick up their first road win, but the Lobos (6-4) rallied from a 3-0 deficit to score the final four match points and win, 4-3.
Santa Barbara began the day with securing the doubles point and started off hot as they earned a 6-1 victory on court three. However, moments later, Joseph Rotheram and Simon Freund were bested on court two, 6-3.
Just like yesterday, the match went into a tiebreaker situation, but before it did the Gaucho couplet found themselves down 5-3 serving. Moreno de Alboran and Holm bounced back from triple-match point deficit to win 7-6.
In singles, the Gauchos would jump out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to two quick wins at the No. 3 and No. 5 courts.
Sophomore transfer Joseph Guillin is continuing his impressive season with yet another straight-set victory. The former Florida Gator defeated Dominic West 6-1, 6-1 over on court three and has now won seven straight singles matches. Guillin is now 8-1 on the season.
Over on court five, freshman Victor Krustev would earn his first win since returning to injury with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over New Mexico's Tim Buttner.
Overall, it would seem that the Gauchos would cruise into a victory needing just one more win with four opportunities to do so, but the Lobos had a different idea.
Court six is where New Mexico picked up its first point of the match following Stepan Holis's 6-2, 6-4 straight-set victory over Hironori Koyanagi. The Lobos continued their momentum with Jorge Escrutia's 7-6, 6-2 win over Holm on court four to cut the deficit to 3-2.
UCSB's best chance to upset the No. 48 team in the country came at court two where Freund was taking on New Mexico's Bart Van Leijsen. The UCSB senior took the first set 6-4, and had match points in the second at 5-3, and 5-4. Ultimately, the Sweden native would go onto lose the second set 7-5. In the third, Freund lost 6-4 and suddenly the game was tied at 3-3 with the final point coming down to the winner on court one.
Immediately after Freund lost, everyone shifted their attention to Moreno de Alboran taking on Ricky Hernandez-Tong as they were also in the middle of a third set.
Moreno de Alboran lost the first set 6-3, but bounced back to win the second 7-6. The New York native was down 5-3 having just lost serve when everybody knew the game would come down to that match. Moreno de Alboran would try his best, but ultimately lost 6-4 in the third and the 'Chos lost the match 4-3.
"Nic fought back in the second set and played well in the third despite losing, but he spotted his opponent a set starting off not as intellignent as he could have and it hurt him," Davis said.
Today's loss was one of those losses that could either derail a season or remotivate a team to make a change.
"The match left the guys devestated. It's a pretty quiet group right now," Davis said. "Lucky for us we get a home match to lick our wounds. We need to get home and find some answers to get these wins."
Obviously close losses are always hard on a team, but the fact the Gauchos had a 3-0 lead against No. 48 New Mexico proves they have talent. However, even a talented team has areas where they can improve.
"I think this weekend really highlighted that we are a substandard team when it comes to serving which is super disappointing. That being said, the season is still young and we could still improve," Davis said.
A road win was not in the cards for UCSB this weekend, but fortunately for them they have a home match next week before heading back on the road. Maybe that is exactly what they need to figure some things out.
Santa Barbara will be back in action against St. Mary's at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd at the Rec Cen Courts.
Santa Barbara 3 New Mexico 4
Feb. 25, 2018; Albuquerque, New Mexico
1. MORENO DE ALBORAN, N/HOLM, Anders (UCSB) def. VAN LEIJSEN, Bart/ESCUTIA, Jorge (NM) 7-6
2. HERNANDEZ-TONG,Ricky/WEST, Dominic (NM) def. FREUND, Simon/Rotheram, Joseph (UCSB) 6-3
3. GUILLIN, Joseph/KRUSTEV, Victor (UCSB) def. BAKLINI, Sean/HOLIS, Stepan (NM) 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
1. HERNANDEZ-TONG,Ricky (NM) def. MORENO DE ALBORAN, N (UCSB) 6-3, 6-7, 6-4
2. VAN LEIJSEN, Bart (NM) def. FREUND, Simon (UCSB) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
3. GUILLIN, Joseph (UCSB) def. WEST, Dominic (NM) 6-1, 6-1
4. ESCUTIA, Jorge (NM) def. HOLM, Anders (UCSB) 7-6, 6-2
5. KRUSTEV, Victor (UCSB) def. BUTTNER, Tim (NM) 6-3, 6-0
6. HOLIS, Stepan (NM) def. KOYANAGI, Hironori (UCSB) 6-2, 6-4
Order of finsh: 3, 5, 6, 4, 2, 1*