The men’s tennis team started their season with a big victory over the Fresno City College Rams on Jan. 24. In three doubles matches and six singles matches, the Slugs were able to start their season fresh after losing four seniors last season, and earn a 5-4 win.
With doubles matches first on the agenda, the Slugs’ pairs all won and lost a match to make UCSC’s top senior duo George Goetz and Eli Scandalis the deciding factor. The match was emotional and entertaining, going deep into all three sets to decide the winner of the game and the overall doubles matches. Unfortunately for Goetz and Scandalis, they weren’t quite able to secure the win.
The Slugs fell behind early on the scoreboard with two losses in doubles matches, but bounced back in singles to give the Slugs their first overall win of the season.
“I thought we competed well, but not everything was clicking with our games,” Goetz said. “Both players were really good competitors and very good tennis players. The fact we fought them that close without having too much match experience together shows how much potential we have as a team.”
The singles matches were equally competitive, but this time the Slugs were able to come away with the 4-2 win, enough to secure the overall win as well. As a team they were able to shake off the loss in the doubles matches and improve dramatically in the singles matches.
The featured singles matchup was between both team’s No. 1 singles player, Scandalis and Matt Alves. After falling to Alves in doubles, Scandalis looked to take revenge in singles and came away with a key win, 6-2, 6-3 for him and the team. From the beginning, Scandalis took the lead and never looked back, never giving his opponent a chance for a rally.
“I was extremely happy with my singles,” Scandalis said. “I got broken once in three sets, and that makes it really hard for my opponent when I’m serving that well. I came up with four first serves and none of them came back.”
NCAA Division III, No. 12 ranked UCSC started their season on the right foot and are now looking to make a major impact throughout its season. First-year head coach Christian De Jesus Nazario was pleased with his team’s performance in their home opener and is hoping his team can keep up the good play.
Crucial matches this season include ones versus No. 3 ranked Amherst on March 22 and No. 7 ranked Cal Lutheran on April 13. In order to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, the Slugs have to win big matches against big teams. For Nazario, the only way to do that is to work together as a team.
“We have to win as many matches as we can,” Nazario said. “We have to use the experience from the matches, so we can put that into continuation as we approach postseason for the tougher matches and opponents.”
Even with the graduating seniors from the small squad last season, Nazario likes what he sees in team chemistry and leadership to have a successful season. The Slugs next home game is against Sonoma State on Jan. 31, and they are hoping to continue on the same foot.