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The Cal Poly men’s tennis team fell in the Big West Conference Tournament Championship, losing 4-0 to UC Santa Barbara Sunday, April 29. The Mustangs (18-7) took on the Gauchos (18-6) in the championship match after defeating UC Davis 4-0 in the semifinals Friday.

With the win, the Gauchos remained Big West Conference Tournament Champions for the fourth straight season.

Cal Poly vs. UC Davis

Cal Poly started the Big West Tournament with a match against UC Davis in the semifinals after their first-round bye. In doubles play, Cal Poly took the 1-0 lead after winning two matches.

Freshmen Roman Sherkiryk and Andrew Whitehouse along with the duo of senior Karl Enander and junior Dominic Bechard defeated their opponents 6-3 and 6-4, ending doubles play early. Junior Josh Ortlip and senior Axel Damiens didn’t finish their doubles match but were tied at 5-5 before the match moved to singles.

In singles, Damiens finished first when he defeated UC Davis’s Arjith Jayaraman while only surrendering two games. Sophomore Antoine Noel finished next winning 6-2,6-2 to give Cal Poly a 3-0 lead.

Enander then sealed the semifinals win by defeating the Aggies’ Chethan Swanson 6-3,6-2 to complete the 4-0 sweep and secure the Mustangs’ spot in the championship match Sunday.

Cal Poly vs. UC Santa Barbara

The Big West Conference Tournament Championship match began with the Gauchos taking a 1-0 lead after securing the crucial doubles point.

After Sherkiryk and Whitehouse and the Enander-Bechard duo each lost to their opponents, the doubles competition was stopped early. Ortlip and Damiens didn’t finish their match, but were ahead 5-4 over Gauchos Nicolas Moreno de Alboran and Anders Holm at the time of the stoppage.

“We played the right way, we played aggressive, it’s just the doubles point again over the last couple years has been whats hurt us down there in that final match,” head coach Nick Carless said.

In singles, the Mustangs fought hard but lost in three straight singles matches.

Freshman Alexander Stater lost to his opponent first, only winning two games in two sets. Ortlip also lost to his opponent 6-3, 6-1 to give the Gauchos a 3-0 lead, and just one point away from securing the Big West Conference Championship.

After Noel lost back-to-back sets with a 6-4 score against Gaucho Simon Freund, the 4-0 sweep was secured. However, at the time of the sweep, Bechard and Damiens each pushed their opponents to a third set while Enander was one game away from winning his match.

The loss concluded the Mustangs’ season as they finished 18-7 on the year and went an impressive 11-1 at home.

“We have a lot to hang our hat on in terms of record and national ranking but we also want to be bringing home trophies and show that we’re good enough to have won these last three conference championships that we’ve lost in the finals so it’s kind of bittersweet,” Carless said. “It’s nice to get back to the finals, get nationally ranked, be 18-7 and 11-1 at home, but our goals are bigger than that so we just want to work this summer and get back to work as soon as we can to be ready to accomplish all of our goals and not just some of them.”

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