March 22, 2006

Finished With Final Exams, Gauchos to Get Tested by 75th-Ranked Dartmouth

March 22, 2006

The Schedule
Saturday, March 25, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Dartmouth University Big Green
at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara

Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Santa Clara University Broncos at UCSB's Recreation Center Courts

Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 1:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Harvard University Crimson
at UCSB's Recreation Center Courts

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its match against Dartmouth on Saturday with a record of 7-6. Since a tough four-match losing streak that included three 4-3 defeats, the Gauchos hve won three of four, including a 4-2 win over Pac Ten member Oregon and a 4-3 win over 66th-ranked Yale. The win over Yale on March 13 is the last completed match at UCSB has played. The Gauchos were slated to play at UC Riverside on March 17, but the contest was rained-out with Santa Barbara leading 3-0 and on the verge of a fourth singles win.

The Ivy League Comes To I.V.
Actually, the Recreation Center Courts are not in Isla Vista, the student-dominated community adjacent to the UCSB Campus, nor is the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara, but I thought it was a catch headline. Either way, the Gauchos have already played two Ivy League schools, Princeton and Yale, and they will take-on two more in the next week. On Saturday, UCSB hosts 75th-ranked Dartmouth and on Wednesday, March 30, it plays host to 71st-ranked Harvard. The match against Harvard will be the team's final of the year against Ivy League opponents. If the intercollegiate hierarchy lost its collective mind and the Gauchos were suddenly in the Ivy League, they would be at the top. UCSB has defeated both Princeton and Yale this year.

Rain, Rain, Go Away...
UCSB's most recent match, or near-match, was on Friday, March 17 at UC Riverside. With the Gauchos leading 3-0 and serving for the clinching fourth match at No. 1 singles, the clouds burst open and the rain came down, ending the afternoon for Gauchos and Highlanders. Playing at No. 1, Nick Brotman was leading UCR's Norman Tam 6-4, 5-3 at the time. Three UCSB freshmen had already won their matches, No. 2 Bijan Hejazi, No. 5 Carsten Thorstensen and No. 6 Max Taylor.

The Young And The Restless
Before the start of the regular season, UCSB head coach Marty Davis believed that he was welcoming the best recruiting class in his seven years at the the school. If the early returns are accurate, Davis was right. Led by Bijan Hejazi (Santa Clara HS/Santa Clara, Calif.) who has recorded a 9-4 record playing No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 singles, the Gaucho freshmen have really made their mark. In addition to Hejazi's 9-4 mark, Carsten Thorstensen (Wang HS/Drobak, Norway) has gone 7-5 playing at No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6. Max Taylor (Bullard HS/Fresno, Calif.) has gone 6-7 at No. 4, No. 5 and mostly No. 6. Grant Robertson (Santa Barbara HS/Santa Barbara, Calif.) has gone 1-1 in singles matches, but he has also posted a 4-3 record in doubles, and finally, Scott Hohenstein (Canyon HS/Anaheim, Calif.) has played just two singles matches, but he is 4-7 in doubles. Combined, the Gauchos have won 43 singles matchs to this point and freshmen have checked-in with 23 of them, 53.5%. If you toss crusty veteran sophomore Anders Dalskov into the mix, the numbers are even more impressive from the underclassmen. Dalskov has gone 10-2 at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles. Overall, Gaucho underclassmen have logged 33 of the team's 43 dual match wins, 76.7%.

Brotman Leads The Old Guys
Senior Nick Brotman, a First Team All-Big West choice in 2005, remains the leader of the old guys on the Gaucho roster. Brotman has gone 5-6 at No. 1 singles this season. Hagen Brody, the only other senior on the Santa Barbara roster, is 1-0. Junior Elad Stern has gone 4-8. He is the only Gaucho player, besides Brotman, to play No. 1 singles in 2006.

Key Big West Matches Are On The Horizon
When UCSB completes its Ivy League schedule, it will get back to playing some of its Big West opponents. On Saturday, April 1, the Gauchos host last year's Big West Conference Tournament runners-up, Pacific. No fooling. On Saturday, April 15, UCSB travels south to face the defending league champion, UC Irvine is what should be an outstanding, albeit taxing, match.

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