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UCSB Men Drop Hard-Fought Match to No. 5 USC at ITA Kick-Off Classic

Following a 4-0 victory over SMU a day ago, the No. 37 UC Santa Barbara men's tennis team fell short in the ITA Kick-Off Classic Championship losing to No. 5 USC, the hosts of the weekends' events, 6-1.

Although the score might indicate a blowout, the Gauchos were in this match until the bitter end. 

In doubles, the No. 44 Gaucho duo of juniors Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm lost 3-6 to USC's Brandon Holt and Riley Smith.  Trojans Jaede and Verboven then claimed their eighth straight victory, and the doubles point by downing Gauchos Simon Freund and Joseph Rotheram at the number two position, 6-4.  Joseph Guillin and Victor Krustev's match was abandoned at 5-5 on court 3. 

USC stretched their lead to 3-0 with wins by No. 54 Logan Smith over Holm 6-1, 6-4 at the number 3 position and No. 96 Thibault Forget defeating UCSB junior transfer Hironori Koyanagi 6-2, 6-4 at number 6.

Any doubts about this team's ability to uphold the Gaucho tradition of grit and determination were dispelled over the next two hours as the UCSB men dug in their heels and and fought back to give themselves a chance at victory.  

On court five, freshman Victor Krustev defeated USC's Jack DeVine 6-3, 7-6 (3) to put a point on the board for UCSB.

The remaining three matches all went the distance with the Gauchos falling short, unfortunately, in the thirds sets. 

No. 42 Nicolas Moreno's effort on court one was particularly impressive against No. 11 Brandon Holt. Nic held double break point at 2-2 in the third set and had another break point at 4-4.  Despite diving for volleys and leaving some skin and blood on court he was unrewarded as Holt cashed in on his one and only break chance at 4-5.  Painful.  (complete results below)

"The 6-1 scoreline does 't look good, but we put up a good fight, had three singles go to three sets, and had opportunities to win four matches," Davis said. "Overall the energy was good and we hope next time we can finish off the key points and beat a top 10 team like this."

The Gauchos next game, and first home match of the season, will be against San Diego State at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2 at the Rec Center Courts.

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