SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara earned its week and a half week break from competitive play following a complete beatdown of the Bulldogs just a couple days before Finals week is set to begin.
The win for the Gauchos (8-5) improved their record to an even more impressive 7-0 home mark. Dating back to last season, UCSB has won 11 consecutive matches at the Rec Cen Courts. The Bulldogs (6-3) have now lost three straight matches.
This match was moved around a total of three times due to imminent weather conditions, but luckily when it was time to play, UCSB and Gonzaga were able to play each other with nothing but sunny skies in the forecast.
On the day, UCSB was one word: dominant. This was noticeable right off the bat as on courts two and three in doubles, UCSB was able to get easy wins by scores of 6-0 and 6-1, respectively. Joseph Rotheram and Simon Freund were on court two while Joseph Guillin and Victor Krustev were on court three.
In singles, much of the match was exactly the same. To Gonzaga's credit, it never gave up on any match and despite most matches being blowouts in the first sets, many Bulldog athletes battled hard in the second. Still, in spite of their efforts, the Gauchos won every singles match in straight sets.
Possibly the most intriguing match of the day was being played on court one as Guillin was filling in for junior Nicolas Moreno de Alboran in the top spot.
Moreno de Alboran was a healthy scratch from today's match. In fact, he and junior doubles partner Anders Holm were actually up 3-2 on court one in doubles when the match was called.
Focusing back on Guillin, this was a big moment for the sophomore transfer as he put his 10-straight win record to the test in his first career appearance at the No. 1 court, and he did not disappoint.
Guillin was down 4-1 in the first set, but once the nerves settled, Guillin went on two in the next five points to take the set 6-4 and even jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second eventually winning, 6-2. The former Florida Gator has now won 11 straight singles matches spanning across four different courts but all 11 victories coming in straight sets.
"The court is a bit bigger on court one and I wasn't fully prepared. In the beginning, I was tight but my teammates kept cheering for me and it helped me a lot to relax and once I was relaxed I played really good," Guillin said. "My coaches and teammates are there for me every day and they allow me to get better. 11 straight wins is great but I have high expectations for myself so I am not surprised I just want to keep improving and help the team."
"He looked a little nervous at first but once he settled down he really took over," Freund said. "It's really nice having Joe out there, he always has a calm demeanor and you could always count on him."
Over on courts two and three, veterans Freund and Holm took care of business with easy wins by scores of 6-2, 6-4 and 6-0, 6-4, respectively.
On court four, Rotheram won his first match of the season at that spot taking care of his man 6-3, 6-4. The redshirt freshman's match was also the longest of the day.
Courts five and six produced much of the same as Krustev picked up a win at five 6-0, 6-4 despite nearly blowing a 5-0 lead in the second set while Koyanagi enjoyed his return to the No. 6 spot with a 6-4, 6-3 win.
With yet another easy win at home, UCSB can now go into its finals break with a little bit of relief. Despite the fact the Gauchos are not where they want to be right now in the win-loss column, they also know there is still plenty of season left.
"We got off to a tough start this year with a couple close losses but we have a great group of young guys and everyone is getting better with every match. That has me excited to see what we can do once we come back," Freund said.
Last year, after starting the season 7-5, UCSB went on to win 12 straight matches en route to a Big West Tournament title and an NCAA appearance. Point is, Santa Barbara is not out of anything and the second half of the season will most likely show an improved team all around.
The UCSB men will now focus on preparations for their winter quarter final exams and take a well-deserved break from the tennis courts. As soon as exams are finished, the Gauchos will head north to face to a very strong Oregon team on Monday, March 26th in Eugene, Oregon. Follow @ucsbtennis on twitter to stay up to date with the team.
UC Santa Barbara 7, Gonzaga 0
Rec Cen Courts; March 14th, 2018
1) Moreno de Alboran/Holm (UCSB) vs. Rettke/Everly (Gonzaga) 3-3, unfinished
2) Freund/Rotheram (UCSB) def. Homedes/Egger (Gonzaga) 6-0
3) Krustev/Guillin (UCSB) def. Perkins/(Gonzaga) 6-1
1) Guillin (UCSB) def. O'Sullivan (Gonzaga) 6-4, 6-2
2) Freund (UCSB) def. Rettke (Gonzaga) 6-2, 6-4
3) Holm (UCSB) def. Moreno (Gonzaga) 6-0, 6-4
4) Rotheram (UCSB) def. Everly (Gonzaga) 6-3, 6-4
5) Krustev (UCSB) def. Homedes (Gonzaga) 6-0, 6-4
6) Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Perkins (Gonzaga) 6-4, 6-3