SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-Following a 7-0 feat against No. 82 LMU on Saturday, the UCSB men's tennis team fell just short of their weekend sweep Sunday afternoon with a 4-3 loss to No. 21 Oregon.
"We knew this was going to be a dogfight," said Head Coach Marty Davis. "I thought we fought hard throughout the day but could have played with a little more courage at the end."
This loss pins Santa Barbara with a record of 6-3 on the year. The Gauchos only losses this season have come against ranked opponents on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Top-25 including No. 7 Cal, No. 11 UCLA, and the Ducks on Sunday.
Despite these heart-wrenching losses Davis believes Sunday's match was different from the games prior. "This is the level we expect to win at," Davis said. "[Cal and UCLA] were ranked in the top ten when we played them and Oregon was ranked 21st. This is where we think we belong, so this one hurts and we need to win these matches at home to be at that level."
In what seemed to be a tight match from the get go, a spur of late rallies and some down-to-the-wire action on Court 7 proved to be the difference-maker in Oregon pulling off the victory.
Cody Rakela and Kristian Prior then took care of business on Court 3 beating out Oregon's Simon Stevens and Akihiro Tanaka 6-3 to secure the doubles point for UCSB. On Court 2, Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm took on no. 47 doubles pair Thomas Laurent and Cormac Clissold but fell in their last set for a 6-7 finish.
"The first match on Court 1 was a really good performance between two ranked teams," Davis stated. "[Today] was also one of the first matches we've clinched on Court 3 all season so that was really encouraging that we went off to a good start."
Moving on to singles play, each match was at a competitive stalemate as no team was able to truly pull away. Three of the six singles matches headed into tiebreakers on Courts 4, 5, and 6. Anders Holm grinded back 2-6 deficit on Court 5 against Cormac Clissold but eventually was defeated 6-4 in the break. With the Gauchos being down 3-2 at that point, Chase Masciorini pulled off a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Ethan Young-Smith on Court 6 to tie the match up at 3-3 a piece and give UCSB some much-needed momentum.
In the final and most pivotal match of the day, Court 4 was held between junior Cody Rakela and Jayson Amos. After a first set clinch, 7-5, by Rakela Amos responded with a win of his own taking the second set 7-6 and forcing it into extras.
Gaucho fans and players rallied behind Rakela cheering on the Santa Cruz, CA native with each point earned. Despite a packed crowd on Court 4, Rakela's efforts were not enough to prevail falling 5-7 in the final tiebreaker.
Santa Barbara has another homestand slate ahead of them looking forward to a Thursday match against No. 17 Baylor and Friday matchup against University of New Mexico. Both matches begin at 1:30 p.m.
"We have a great homestand [next week] and get to play a bunch of more tennis like this against some really good opponents," said Davis. "Hopefully we come out on the other end for the rest of them."
UCSB 3, Oregon 4
UCSB RecCen Tennis Court-Santa Barbara, Calif.
March 5, 2017
2. Thomas Laurent/Cormac Clissold (Oregon) def. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB), 7-6
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
1. Thomas Laurent (Oregon) def. Nicolas Moreno de Alboran (UCSB), 6-1, 6-3
2. Morgan Mays (UCSB) def. Simon Stevens (Oregon), 7-5, 6-1
3. Akihiro Tanaka (Oregon) def. Simon Freund (UCSB), 6-2, 7-6
4. Jayson Amos (Oregon) def. Cody Rakela (UCSB), 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5)
5. Cormac Clissold (Oregon) def. Anders Holm (UCSB) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
6. Chase Masciorini (UCSB) def. Ethan Young-Smith (Oregon), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3, 5, 6, 4