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Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara Clash With Men's Tennis Title On The Line

4/20/2016

Big West Tennis Release No. 14

Undefeated at 4-0 in conference play, men's tennis rivals Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara meet for the outright regular season crown Saturday in San Luis Obispo.

BIG WEST AT A GLANCE

Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara Battle For Men’s Regular Season Crown
Central Coast rivals Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara tangle Saturday in San Luis Obispo for the Big West regular season crown and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Both the Mustangs and Gauchos enter the 2:00 p.m. showdown on Mustang Courts with identical 4-0 Big West records.  Cal Poly was the last conference program to finish a full conference slate undefeated, doing so in 2012 at 5-0.  That also was the last regular season title for the program.  Hawai‘i was 4-0 in 2014, but played an abbreviated league schedule due to a rainout against UCSB.  Cal Poly also shared the regular title in 2013 with UC Irvine.

As for the Gauchos, their last title came in 2008 when they co-held the distinction with UCI.  UCSB’s other regular season title came in 2006, the first year the Big West instituted a round-robin schedule.  As an aside, the Gauchos usually reserve their best tennis for the tournament.  UCSB has won six of the last 10 tournaments contested at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Cal Poly has won 10 of its last 12 matches, while UCSB has been victorious in eight of its last 10.  The Gauchos are the highest nationally ranked Big West squad at No. 47.  The Mustangs are No. 63 in this week’s Oracle/ITA rankings.

Recent history has favored the Mustangs.  Although Cal Poly lost last year’s matchup with UCSB by a 6-1 score, the Mustangs won the prior five meetings dating back to 2011, including three times by a 4-3 margin.

Long Beach State Files Away Another Conference Title
The storied Long Beach State women’s tennis program just continues to dominate.  The Beach wrapped up their third consecutive Big West regular season title, all with undefeated 8-0 records, and extended their winning streak in regular season conference matches to 28 straight following last Friday’s triumph over young upstart Cal State Fullerton.  LBSU has not lost a regular season match to a Big West opponent since 2013.

Since the Big West began a round-robin schedule in 2006, LBSU has been at the top of the standings nine times in 11 seasons.  The program has won eight outright titles and one shared crown during that span.  In addition, LBSU has been nearly unbeatable in the conference tournament, winning that event in 12 out of the last 14 years.  At Indian Wells Tennis Garden, which has been home to the Big West Tournament since 2004, the Beach is an astounding 35-1 all-time.

LBSU is the No. 1 seed for this year’s Big West Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, April 27 at IWTG.  The Beach has received a first-round bye, and plays the winner of the No. 8 versus No. 9 matchup on Thursday, April 28 at 8:00 a.m.

UC Santa Barbara, which nearly pulled off the upset of LBSU earlier this season before losing 4-3, is the No. 2 seed.