SDSU men’s tennis misses an opportunity against No. 42 UC Santa Barbara with 4-2 loss

by Austin Gayle , Staff Writer

The No. 38 San Diego State men’s tennis team fell to No. 42 UC Santa Barbara, 4-2, Saturday in its 2016 home opener at Aztec Tennis Center.

With the loss, SDSU drops to 3-3 on the season, while UCSB climbs to 6-3.

“We gave this match up,” SDSU head coach Gene Carswell said. “We missed an opportunity today to beat a ranked team on our home court. I feel like our potential is much higher than what we saw today.”

The Aztecs did start the day on a positive note, as they took the doubles point early with big wins from their No. 2 and No. 3 pairings.

SDSU junior Milen Ianakiev and sophomore Santiago Cevallos beat UCSB freshman Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and sophomore Chase Masciorini, 6-2.

“All new pairings except for our No. 2,” Carswell said. “We Kept Milen and Santiago together and they did an excellent job. In fact, that was really the highlight of the day with their match at No. 2. They’re complementing each other well and being aggressive around the net.”

With their win Saturday, Ianakiev and Cevallos have now won three consecutive matches.

Junior Hendrik Jebens and freshman Sander Gjoels-Andersen also took home a victory for SDSU, as they topped UCSB freshman Anders Holm and senior Andrew Rimontin, 6-4.

“Santa Barbara has historically played good doubles,” Carswell said. “We dropped the doubles point against them last year, so to come out here and get it done was nice. It put us in a great position to go into singles.”

The Aztecs were unable to carry that momentum into singles play, as they went on to lose five of their six singles matches.

Junior Marko Goles-Babic, SDSU’s only victor in singles play, defeated sophomore Cody Rakela 6-2, 6-4.

Carswell was impressed with Goles-Babic’s ability to compete in his first game back in the lineup since their match against UC Riverside on January 17, especially with him earning a victory over Rakela, a player that beat Goles-Babic just one year ago.

Gjoels-Andersen then lost to Holm, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.  Junior Jonas Meinzer fell to UCSB junior Teague Hamilton, 4-6, 6-7 (2).

The 2015 Co-Mountain West Player of the Year, redshirt-senior Freddy Gelbrich won his second set, but senior Nathan Eshmade got the best of him in the third set to win the match, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Jebens lost to Moreno de Alboran 4-6, 4-6. Ianakiev lost to junior Morgan Mays 4-6, 3-6.

“We have to play more complete matches,” Carswell said, in reference to his team’s performance in singles play. “I don’t know if we’re expecting other people to come through for us or we’re relying on other people in different positions to come through and get wins. In college tennis, in Division I, when you get into the ranked teams they’re all good. And if you’re not ready to compete and play then you’re not going to get it done.”

SDSU is hoping it can rebound from their tough loss against UCSB next weekend, as they will visit USD on Saturday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m.