Cal Poly men’s tennis dropped its first Big West match of the year to Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara 4-0 on Saturday, Apr. 23 inside the Mustang Tennis Complex.
The Mustangs (15-5, 5-1 Big West Conference) came into the day on a six-match winning streak, while the Gauchos (16-5, 5-1 Big West Conference) came in with a four-match winning streak of their own — all in shutout fashion.
Cal Poly won the regular-season title in 2021 over the Gauchos for the first time since 2013 but was unable to do so this year.
The Mustangs were behind early after dropping the doubles point, putting them down 1-0.
Cal Poly had the early lead as graduate Hendrik Inno and redshirt sophomore Joe Leather won their match 6-0 from the No. 2 spot. However, UCSB tied the doubles scoring with a win from the No. 1 spot, as redshirt sophomore Colter Smith and freshman Bastiaan Weststrate fell 6-1.
The doubles point was then to be determined by the winner of the No. 3 matchup. Sophomore Noah Berry and redshirt sophomore Fernando Fonseca represented the Mustangs in that spot and came up just short after a 6-3 loss.
Redshirt sophomore Ben Keyser played in the No. 6 position for the Mustangs, but he fell to open up singles play in straight sets by a score of 6-2, 6-0.
The second finish of singles play came from the No. 5 court, where Weststrate was playing. After a close first-set defeat, Weststrate fell in two sets 7-5, 6-2.
The match-clinching point for UCSB came on the next finish from the No. 4 court. Fonseca fell in that spot in two sets, 7-5, 6-3.
The other three matches went unfinished on the scorecard but featured some high-level play.
Berry, now nationally ranked at No. 118, was deep into his second set at the No. 1 spot after winning his first set. His final score was 6-4, 4-5.
Leather was playing as Cal Poly’s No. 2 player. He split the first two sets against his opponent, 2-6, 6-3, before his match went unfinished.
Smith was the final singles player on the day in the No. 3 position. He was behind on the scorecard 3-6, 5-6 before his match also went unfinished.
The victory by the Gauchos handed them the regular-season title while Cal Poly finished the season just behind them in second place.
The Mustangs will look to shake off this match as they prepare for the Big West Conference Tournament, which will be held from Friday, Apr. 29 through Sunday, May 1 in San Diego.