The Dons edged out host UC Santa Barbara 4-3 on Sunday, capping the win with a singles victory by sophomore Nils Skajaa. The lead switched hands a few times, with a key victory coming early from junior Bernardo Saraiva, who claimed the first singles finish and victory of the day in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.
Sophomore Thomas Takemoto also grabbed a critical singles win. Winning in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6, Takemoto pushed the Dons ahead 3-2 at the time, a lead that would soon again be tied by the Gauchos. A hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory by UC Santa Barbara’s Miles Seemann over Dons freshman Timothy Tan pushed the decision to the final match, a matchup between Skajaa and Santa Barbara’s Ziad Sultan.
The deciding match proved to be a tense affair. After Skajaa claimed the first set on a tiebreak, Sultan took the second set 6-4 to push the match to a final set. It was there that Skajaa distanced himself from Sultan for good, winning the third set 6-2 and securing the victory for the Dons.
In the doubles matches, the team of Saraiva and Skajaa took care of the Gauchos’ duo of Tobias Galskov and Ziad Sultan. Another notable doubles victory for the Dons came courtesy of the senior Germain Bahri and Takemoto, who won an 8-5 match.
The Dons were previously in the midst of a five-game losing streak, and dropping their last two matches by scores of 1-6 and 2-5 to No. 46 Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount, respectively. The victory over UC Santa Barbara not only snapped the skid, but also marked the ninth win on the season for the Dons, who improved to 3-6 away from home.
Next, the Dons take their 9-10 record to the Cal Club to continue conference play and host the 7-11 BYU Cougars on Friday, April 4 at 1:00 p.m. The Cougars are coming off of a 5-2 loss to Loyola Marymount. A day after that, the Dons play host to San Diego, who dropped a tough 4-3 decision to No. 32 Memphis on Saturday.