Credit: Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

Cal Poly Men’s Tennis finished second at the Big West Tournament after falling to the UC Santa Barbara 4-0 on Sunday, Apr. 28 in Palm Springs, Calif.

“We were disappointed,” senior Dominic Bechard said. “Overall, you cannot look at it too negatively [because] there were a lot of positives, everyone had fun and got better at tennis this season.”

This was the fourth consecutive year that the Mustangs (14-10, 4-1) faced the Gauchos (17-7, 5-0) in the championship match. The Mustangs defeated UC Irvine 4-2 in the semi-final.

“We were happy [to make the finals] as the match to get there was not easy at all,” junior Antoine Noel said.

In the finals match, Cal Poly battled competitively as Noel and freshman Gary Vardanyan defeated Joseph Gullin and Victor Krustev 6-4 in their doubles match. However, the Gauchos secured the doubles point when Joseph Rotheram and Alex Dominguez Soto defeated sophomore Roman Shenkiryk and sophomore Andrew Whitehouse.

Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

In singles, senior Josh Ortlip defeated Nicolas Moreno De Alboran 7-5 in the first set before the match was canceled in the third set.

UC Santa Barbaras’ Hironori Koyanagi defeated Vardanyan 6-3 with a 6-3, 6-1 win at the No. 4 spot to give the Gauchos a 2-0 lead. Then, Joseph Guilin gave the Gauchos a 3-0 lead after defeating Noel with a 6-0, 7-5 win at the No. 2 spot.

The Gauchos clinched the match when Victor Krusev defeated sophomore Alex Stater with a 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 3 spot.

“[In order to defeat UC Santa Barbara] everyone has to play really good on the same day,” Bechard said. “Also, you have to get a little bit lucky.”

At the end of the season, both Bechard and Noel received All-Conference Honors alongside Ortlip and Vardanyan. Stater also earned an honorable mention in singles.

Kyle Calzia | Mustang News

“It feels good but it is not the most important thing of the season,” Noel said. 

“It is not my biggest achievement, but I will definitely hang it up on my wall,” Bechard said. 

With the season over, Cal Poly will only graduate team captain Ortlip and Bechard as 10 of the team’s 13 roster players are either freshman or sophomores.

Noel will be the lone senior for the Mustangs next season.

“I am going to be captain next year again,” Noel said. “[Head coach Nick Carless] is going to expect me to lead the young guys and lead by example.”

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