Tritons Face Tough Competition at SDSU

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Men’s tennis fell at the San Diego State Invitational

In the second week of preseason action, the UCSD men’s tennis team began October with eight lost singles matches at the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State University, facing tough competition against a slew of Division-I teams — including the University of Arizona, Grand Canyon University, Loyola Marymount University, the University of the Pacific, SDSU, UC Irvine, UCLA and USC.

As a young team at the start of a new season, the Tritons seemed overwhelmed, with eight losses during the first two flights of tournament play alone. UCSD head coach Timmer Willing felt unsatisfied with his team’s overall performance.

“I think it was pretty average,” Willing told The Guardian. “We have a lot of work to do.

Of a total of 16 singles matches, the Tritons won only three. Not until their 10th singles match did the Tritons find victory with senior Maxence Dutreix’s win against Grand Canyon’s Rafael Lira with scores of 7–6, 0–6, 10–8. However, Dutreix lost his subsequent match 6–3, 6–4 against UCLA’s Michael Guzman.

Junior Guy Giubilato also earned the Tritons a win against Grand Canyon’s Jacob Spizman, dominating the match with scores of 6–2, 6–0.

UCSD’s third win meant little, as it came from junior Andrew Malozsak’s match against fellow Triton teammate and junior Kona Luu. Malozsak won with commanding scores of 6–3, 6–2.

“I think there’s some glaring weaknesses we need to focus on,” Willing said.

In the doubles bracket, Malozsak paired up with senior Devin Sousa for the first time. Together, the duo had a standout performance on an otherwise lackluster weekend, upsetting Grand Canyon’s Meidy Chazeau and Jacob Spizman with a convincing score of 8–1 in the doubles round of 32.

“I thought me [sic] and Malozsak played pretty well considering it was our first time playing together in a match,” Sousa said. “We worked well together.”

Other than one singles match last February, this weekend was Malozsak’s first opportunity at any collegiate action. Willing said he was surprised by the Sousa-Malozsak performance but glad to see the result.

But the pair was eliminated in their round of 16 contest, losing to Arizona’s Fredrik Ask and Naoki Takeda with a score of 8–4.

Malozsak and Sousa’s round of 32 victory was UCSD’s only doubles win out of five matches.

“The beginning of the preseason is tough with our first tournaments,” Sousa said. “The competition has proven to be a little bit tougher than previous years.”

This early in the season, Sousa said they have yet to determine their final pairings and lineups, but the Tritons certainly hope to work out the kinks early on.

“Our goal is to return to the NCAAs, and I think that is attainable with this group. But it is up to us,” Willing said. “If we can work out some of the details and kinks we had in the offseason and be ready at the start of the season, we can control our situation.”

The Tritons will head to Santa Barbara this coming weekend to take part in the UCSB classic starting Friday.

The team, however, will be without Sousa — out with an injured groin — and sophomore Ganesh Alagappan — sidelined with a bad back ­­­— for the tournament.