SAN DIEGO, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara started off its 2019 dual match campaign the right way Sunday afternoon, picking up a solid 5-2 win against San Diego State. The win also marks the fourth consecutive season that the Gauchos start 1-0.
"This was a good test to start the season. San Diego State didn't back down and gave us a good match, but we got through it and it was a good win for us," Head Coach Marty Davis said.
Early on, UCSB found themselves in trouble in the doubles portion of the match. San Diego State's duo on court two comprised of Jan Kirchhoff and Ignacio Martinez cruised to a 6-0 shutout victory over the Santa Barbara's Victor Krustev and Joseph Rotheram.
However, thanks to wins on courts one and three, the Gauchos were able to secure the doubles point and take the early 1-0 lead. UCSB's duo made up of senior co-captains Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm earned a 6-3 win at the top court. Following that, junior Joesph Guillin and partner Alex Dominguez Soto earned a 6-4 win to clinch the point.
From there, the Gauchos continued to put the pressure on the Aztecs. Krustev, a sophomore coming off a very impressive rookie year, was the first off the court for the Gauchos earning a 6-0, 6-3 win over SDSU's Arnaud Restifo on the number three court. Last year, Krustev played primarily in the No. 5 and 6 slots, however, he had an impressive debut in the top half of the lineup.
No. 22 ranked Guillin was the next to earn a win. The former Florida Gator defeated Martinez 6-3, 6-4 at the No. 2 court and continued showing why he has been an amazing addition for the Gauchos.
Since coming to UCSB last year, Guillin has amassed an impressive 20-2 overall record and remains perfect on court two with a 9-0 mark.
Down 3-0, San Diego State needed a miracle to pull off a season-opening victory. That started with a victory on court four as Aztec Sander Gjoels-Andersen bested Rotheram in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.
Just moments later, however, Moreno de Alboran sealed the win for the Gauchos. The No. 6 player in the country defeated his opponent 6-4, 7-6 (4). His ranking is the highest in program history.
Despite the match being decided, the decisions on courts five and six still needed to finish as both were pushed to three sets. UCSB senior Hironori Koyanagi won his match on court five 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5), but San Diego State's Gonzalez Almazan outlasted Dominguez Soto in a marathon battle at No. 6, 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(9). The tough part for Dominguez Soto is that he had triple-match point in the tiebreaker of the final set.
Overall, UCSB has a lot to be happy about after today's win, but there is still much more work to be done. Replacing former captain Simon Freund will not be easy but someone has to step up especially in doubles.
Santa Barbara has some lofty goals this season and the only way it could accomplish them is if it keeps building off its victories.
"Clearly we have some things to work on but we got the win and that's what matters. We would like to clean up our doubles play because we need to be better to beat some of the teams coming up on our schedule [like South Alabama]. We also need to serve better, but these are things we could do with a good week of practice," Davis said.
UCSB will face No. 57 South Alabama at 10 am on Saturday, January 26 at the Marks Tennis Center for the ITA Kick Off Weekend.
Follow @UCSBTennis on twitter for updates throughout the year.
UC Santa Barbara 5, San Diego State 2
Jan. 20, 2019
San Diego, Calif.
Aztec Tennis Center
1. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran/Anders Holm (UCSB) def. Sander Gjoels-Andersen/Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU), 6-3
2. Jan Kirchhoff/Ignacio Martinez (SDSU) def. Victor Krustev/Joseph Rotheram (UCSB), 6-0
3. Joseph Guillin/ Alex Dominguez Soto (UCSB) def. Arnaud Restifo/Fabian Roensdorf (SDSU), 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
UCSB wins doubles point
1. #6 Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB) def. Fabian Roensdorf (SDSU), 6-4, 7-6(4)
2. #22 Joseph Guillin (UCSB) def. Ignacio Martinez (SDSU), 6-3, 6-4
3. Victor Krustev (UCSB) def. Arnaud Restifo (SDSU), 6-0, 6-3
4. Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU) def. Joseph Rotheram (UCSB), 6-3, 6-4
5. Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) def. Jan Kirchhoff (SDSU), 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(5)
6. Rafael Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Alex Dominguez Soto (UCSB), 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(9)
Order of finish: 3, 2, 4, 1*, 5, 6
* Match-clinching victory