LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team began its tough weekend slate today against No. 20 UCLA, but was unable to pull off the upset as the Bruins took the match, 5-2. Now, UCSB will go home and face No. 17 Oregon less than 24 hours from the finish of this match.
"We played well in a lot of spots and not so well in others, overall this like every loss hurts but I am not quite as broken as other ones," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "I think I speak for myself and the rest of the team though
The loss breaks UCSB's (6-5 overall) previous three-game win streak, though admittedly UCLA (7-5) is a much tougher opponent. As for the Bruins, they remain unbeaten at home.
Having lost a few games this season, UCSB knows that if it wants to crack the national rankings it needs an upset win and it was ready to take on UCLA.
In doubles, the Gauchos came ready to make a statement. In fact, they came out so ready they were the first to score a win on the board. The new No. 2 UCSB duo made up of junior Joseph Guillin and sophomore Victor Krustev improved to 3-0 this season as they bested UCLA's Govind Nanda and Connor Rapp.
Just as the Gauchos won, the other two courts were being pushed to the absolute max. Court one, which houses senior duo Nicolas Moreno de Alborana and Anders Holm ranked No. 72, was pushed to a tiebreaker and for a while UCSB was up.
However, it could not get the job done as the senior duo lost to UCLA's No. 25 pair 7-6 (4).
That meant the doubles point would come down to court three. That is made up of Joseph Rotheram and Alex Dominguez Soto who are currently ranked No. 80 in the country.
The UCSB squad saw themselves up 5-4 (40-15) meaning they had triple match point, but failed to take advantage and would eventually lose 7-6 (5) giving UCLA the 1-0 lead.
In singles, UCSB fought on every court, but ultimately UCLA was too strong. Beginning with court three, the normally strong Krustev, ranked No. 94, was beaten handily by No. 46 Nanda, 6-0, 6-3. This is only the second loss for Krustev this season, both have been in straight sets.
After Krustev's loss, Rotheram would lose on court four to UCLA's Patrick Zahraj in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 snapping his previous six-match win streak.
Up 3-0, the Bruins put the match away as No. 98 Keegan Smith bested UCSB's No. 39 Guillin, 6-4, 6-4.
Even though the match was decided, UCSB was not giving up. On court six, Holm, who has struggled this season, fought until the very end against No. 106 Mathew Tsolakyan before losing 7-5, 6-4.
Down 5-0, UCSB would get the last two laughs. First, No. 13 Moreno de Alboran came through in a clutch third-set situation as he bested UCLA's No. 118 Maxime Cressy, 6-2, 4-6, 1-0 (10).
Moreno de Alboran has now won five matches in a row improving to 7-2 on the year. Additionally, Moreno de Alboran now has 12 wins against ranked opponents including fall tournament season.
The final match was on court five which saw Hironori Koyanagi move up a spot. The senior showed why he was deserving of the move up in the lineup with an impressive 6-2 first-set win.
However, he got into trouble in the second set losing 6-2 and then proceeded to fall behind 4-1 in the third. Still, Koyanagi stepped up eventually forcing a tiebreak and earning a huge win in the last set, 7-6 (6).
Overall, this is still a tough loss for UCSB which is still seeking a signature win this season. Defeating UCLA is a tough task especially on the road, but UCSB had some opportunities today to really give the Bruins a scare.
Still, if anything the Gauchos showed they have the potential to beat a top team, now they have to prove it, something they can do with a win tomorrow.
UCSB hosts No. 17 Oregon at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 15 at the Rec Cen Courts. Free pizza, as always, will be provided to UCSB's awesome fans wearing their yellow UCSB t-shirts which are sold at the match for 10 dollars. Follow @UCSBTennis on twitter for any and all updates.