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Wednesday, December 12 , 2018, 6:52 pm | Fair with Haze 56º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank
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UCSB Rebounds With Close Win Against Denver

UCSB came from behind to post a 4-3 win over the University of Denver in a men's tennis match on Sunday at the Rec Cen courts.

After suffering through two agonizing 4-3 losses wherein the Gauchos lost in final set of the final match on court in tie-breakers, the 51st-ranked Gauchos "could easily have 'gone away' when they failed to convert match point in the doubles competition, losing a 13-11 tie-breaker to fall behind the Pioneers 0-1," said coach Marty Davis.

"Instead, the UCSB men showed the Gaucho grit and determination that have become trademarks of our program."

No. 47 Denver went up 2-0 with a quick win on center court.  The Gauchos countered with wins on courts 4 and 6 to level the match at 2-2.

UCSB, however, was behind 2-5 and 1-4 in the third sets on courts No. 2 and 3, respectively, and down 2-5 in the second set (having won the first) on court No. 5.  Another close, disappointing spring break setback looked eminent.

That's when it all turned, and the Gauchos came alive.

Sophomore Cody Rakela reeled off 5 straight games at the No. 5 position to put UCSB up 3-2.  At the same time, both Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and captain Morgan Mays broke back on their courts to even their sets at 5-all and 4-all, respectively.  Mays registered another break of serve on court 3 to go up 5-4 and bravely served out the match with a huge, unreturnable, second serve winner on the deciding 3-all point to seal the win for the Gauchos.  Moreno ultimately fell 5-7 at the No. 2 spot, yielding the final 4-3 tally.

The Gauchos start their Big West Conference title defense this Friday at 10 a.m. when they square off against University of Hawaii. On  Sunday,  conference challenger UC Irvine comes to town for a  2 p.m. showdown.  The Anteater match will be preceded with the second annual UCSB vs. UCI alumni match at 9:30.

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