SURPRISE, Ariz. - UC Santa Barbara's senior ace Nicolas Moreno de Alboran made a lot of history for the men's tennis program this fall, but unfortunately, his fall season has come to an end following a loss to USC's Daniel Cuckierman, 6-2, 2-6, 3-6 in the semifinals of the ITA National Fall Championships.
"I am very proud of Nic but I am disappointed in the result today. I thought Nic played as perfect a first set as anyone could play but then it felt like he started getting away from the gameplan in the second and third," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "Still, there is something gratifying in seeing how far Nic has come and how he just continues to get better."
Moreno de Alboran's loss also marks the end of the Gauchos fall tournament season as a whole.
Moreno de Alboran knew his match against Cukierman would not be an easy one, but the senior came out firing in the first set. He converted 68 percent of his first serves and won 10 of his 15 first serve points. The New York native also won three break points and even converted two aces in route to his 6-2 first-set win.
In the second and third sets, however, the biggest difference was Moreno de Alboran's serve. The senior only converted 58 percent of his first serves in the final two sets including a very below average 46 percent in the third alone. It also did not help that Cukierman started to play more aggressive pushing back against Moreno de Alboran and forcing some tough shots.
Cukierman also began to take advantage of Moreno de Alboran's mistakes en route to his victory by winning the next two sets 6-3 and 6-2, respectively.
Even with the loss, there is no doubt Moreno de Alboran has made a statement this fall season and will be a headache for every team that faces him in two months once dual match play starts.
"I don't think anyone is going to think of Nic as the No. 32 player in the country anymore," Davis said. "To me, he has shown he is a top 10 player and I am excited for him to continue to get better."
Also, despite having show vast improvement, both Moreno de Alboran and Davis know there is still more that he can add to his game in order to be not just one of the best players in the country, but the best.
"After today we know there is still a nice list that Nic and I can work on to help further his game even more. His serve has improved but the key word is consistency to keep it at a high level and keep his entire pace of play at a high level," Davis said.
UCSB will start regular season play at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 20 against San Diego State.
Follow @UCSBTennis for any and all updates on Gaucho tennis before the season starts!