DES MOINES, Iowa - UC Santa Barbara came into Iowa hoping to shake off a bad loss to the University of San Diego just one week ago. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, after dropping the opening doubles point, the team was unable to rebound in singles and lost 4-3 to the University of Drake (7-3).
With the loss, UCSB (3-3) has now lost two straight, fall to 2-1 in road games and are also 0-1 in its first indoor tennis match of the season.
Like most matches, the most important point that usually decides the match is the doubles point. Last week, UCSB took a huge doubles point against USD despite struggling in previous weeks. However, today the Gauchos were unable to perform at the same level.
The Gauchos did actually get the first win though as on court two sophomores Joseph Rotheram and Victor Krustev prevailed with a 6-3 win. The duo is now 3-2 on the year and is performing at a much higher level since dropping their first match together 6-0.
Unfortunately, UCSB was unable to get a win on either of the other two courts as on court three Drake's Tom Hands/Calum MacGeoch bested UCSB's Alex Soto/Hironori Koyanagi 6-3. Following that, seniors Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm could not come up with a comeback win losing 6-4 thus giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.
In singles action, UCSB saw themselves fall in a deeper hole after Holm lost in straight sets 6-1, 6-4 putting Drake up 2-0.
However, just like against USD, the Gauchos were not going to roll over to the Bulldogs. On court three, Krustev bounced back from his first loss of the season earning a huge 6-2, 6-3 win over Drake's Barny Thorold.
Then, moments later, Rotheram came up big on court five with a 6-3, 6-2 win to help UCSB tie the match at 2-2. This was Rotheram's first win of the season, one that will hopefully continue him down the right path as the season progresses.
With the score nodded up, the match would come down to the last three singles matches on court, which were all pushed to three sets. Drake struck first, taking a 3-2 lead following a win on court six over Alex Dominguez Soto who was bested 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
The Gauchos bounced back once more though as Moreno de Alboran showed why he is the No. 9 player in the country pulling out a close 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 win on the top court.
Tied at 3-3, the match came down to court's two results which pitted junior Joseph Guillin, ranked No. 25, facing off against Tom Hands who was 8-1 coming into this match. Guillin took the first set 6-4, and was so close to winning the game in the second but would lose 7-6. In the third, Hands put the pressure on and kept it there eventually pulling away and earning a 6-4 win taking the match and giving Drake the 4-3 win.
Last season, UCSB was 2-3 in matches decided by one point. For the most part, UCSB is a strong team but consistency seems to be the problem. Whether it be in doubles or singles, Santa Barbara needs to find consistent players to get consistent results and earn these close wins.
Luckily for the Gauchos, they do not have much time to worry about this loss because they have another match in less than 24 hours.
UCSB will take on Utah State at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Tennis Match Results
UC Santa Barbara vs Drake
Feb 17, 2019 at Des Moines, Iowa
(Roger Knapp Tennis Center)
Drake 4, UC Santa Barbara 3
1. Nicolas de Alboran (UCSB) def. Vinny Gillespie (DU) 7-6, 2-6, 7-6
2. Tom Hands (DU) def. Joseph Guillin (UCSB) 4-6, 7-6, 6-4
3. Victor Krustev (UCSB) def. Barny Thorold (DU) 6-2, 6-3
4. Bayo Philips (DU) def. Anders Holm (UCSB) 6-1, 6-4
5. Joesph Rotheram (UCSB) def. Ben Clark (DU) 6-3, 6-2
6. Finley Hall (DU) def. Alex Soto (UCSB) 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
1. Vinny Gillespie/Barny Thorold (DU) def. Nicolas de Alboran/Anders Holm (UCSB) 6-4
2. Victor Krustev/Joesph Rotheram (UCSB) def. Bayo Philips/Finley Hall (DU) 6-3
3. Tom Hands/Calum MacGeoch (DU) def. Alex Soto/Hironori Koyanagi (UCSB) 6-3
UC Santa Barbara 3-3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (4,3,5,6,1,2)