SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - That is right, folks. For the second consecutive season, the winner of the Blue-Green rivalry will crown the regular season conference champion and give them the No. 1 seed heading into next weeks Big West Tournament.
"We feel really good right now and really confident in our abilities to come out and get this win," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "Winning as many straight conference matches gives us high confidence, but we know we have to come out and play our hardest each week."
The UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team (15-6 overall, 4-0 Big West) is playing at a completely different level right now. Winners of seven straight, the Gauchos have not allowed a single point to a conference opponent and recently capped off a perfect season at home with an 11-0 mark.
Part of the reason for that hot streak is the senior captain Simon Freund. Like his team, Freund has won seven straight singles matches and has become a reliable force at the No. 3 spot where he sports a 7-1 record.
Sophomore transfer Joseph Guillin has also still been as consistent as ever and after two wins at the No. 1 court and one at the No. 2 last week in singles, the former Florida Gator was honored with his first Big West Player of the Week honor.
Now ranked No. 80 in the country, Nicolas Moreno de Alboran has also not let up a single bit. At home, the junior was a perfect 11-0.
In doubles, he and fellow junior Anders Holm have been making waves. The Gaucho duo finally earned its way back to the ITA national rankings appearing at No. 84 this week. Moreno de Alboran and Holm have not lost at the No. 1 court since facing off against an Oregon duo on March 26th.
Junior transfer Hironori Koyanagi has also been playing well as of late as he has not lost a single match since mid-Marchopp and has worked his way back into the lineup despite at one point being benched.
With all these great performances it is no wonder why the Gauchos also find themselves just outside the publish top 50 list on the ITA website as they currently rank at No. 59.
Saturday's match marks a big opportunity for Santa Barbara but it is also a big day for Cal Poly. On Saturday, the Mustangs will be hosting Alumni day, honor their seniors and also honor former great coach Hugh Bream.
Basically, Saturday will be an emotional day for Cal Poly but that does not mean UCSB will not be ready. The Gauchos understand the difference between this years' match and last years and they are ready.
"Last year we held the home-court advantage and this year they will and we understand it will be probably the most hostile place we will have seen all year. But we will be ready come game time," Davis said.
UCSB will take on Cal Poly at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 21 at Hugh Bream Court.