UCSD loses its last two games of the year to Azusa Pacific on the road and Point Loma Nazarene at home.
The UCSD men’s tennis team suffered two tough losses to end its season at the hands of No. 11 Azusa Pacific University a week ago and against Point Loma Nazarene University at home on April 10. On April 4, the Tritons were defeated 7–2 by Azusa Pacific in a grueling competition of six singles matches and three doubles matches. This past Saturday featured the same composition of matches, and it ended with a heart-wrenching final result of 5–4, in favor of Point Loma.
The No. 16 UCSD Tritons left the Cougar Tennis Complex with their record dropping to 12–8 and a regional ranking of No. 3. The No. 11 Azusa Pacific Cougars improved to an overall record of 17–3, which places them with a regional ranking of No. 2.
The overmatched UCSD team won only one of the three doubles matches and one of the six singles matches against Azusa Pacific. For the doubles matches, the first game to finish was the No. 2 doubles in which duo junior Horea Porutiu and sophomore Alexandre Miaule lost to the No. 2 Cougars doubles with a final score of 8–4. The Tritons came back to tie it up when the No. 3 duo, comprised of freshman Eric Tseng and senior Kona Luu, won their match 8–5. The No. 1 doubles match was a tough loss as the sixth nationally ranked duo, comprised of seniors Axel Bouillin and Rajeev Herekar, fell in a close match with a final score of 9–7.
Down 1–2, the Tritons started the singles with a loss in the No. 5 match, losing two of the three sets. Tseng came close in the No. 2 spot, and Bouillin came close in the No. 1 spot, but they fell as well. Freshman Justin Zhang was able to win the only point for the Tritons in the singles matches as he won the No. 4 spot with set scores of 4–6, 6–3 and 11–9.
“It wasn’t an easy game; the rest of the guys fought very hard to try to get the win, and they competed very hard, but it was a tough crowd and in the end we didn’t get it,” Bouillin said when asked about the team’s performance in the game. “Now we’re just looking to hold down the position that we have in the final game and hopefully close the season off well and just prepare for what comes next.”
Unfortunately, the Tritons weren’t able to finish off the regular season with the win that they desired. In their last game of the season, which took place at home at the Northview Courts, the Tritons won only one of the three doubles matches and three of the six singles matches in the 5–4 defeat.
Point Loma won the first point of the day, defeating Triton’s Porutiu and senior Andrew Malozsak 8–4 in the No. 3 doubles match. The No. 2 doubles duo, Zhang and Tseng, were able to answer with a clutch 9–8 victory and win the first point for UCSD. The No. 1 doubles match went to Point Loma as Bouillin and Luu fell in a hard-battled match which ended on a final score of 8–6.
The singles matches were equally highly-contested events and the sets went back and forth for both sides. Malozsak, who was playing his first match of the season, brought in the first point at the No. 6 singles match as he handily won his sets 6–4 and 6–2. The Tritons then took back-to-back victories in the No. 3 and No. 4 singles matches in which Porutiu and Zhang prevailed, respectively. Porutiu won his sets easily with scores of 6–0 and 6–4 while Zhang won his sets with scores of 7–5 and 6–2.
Despite their strong efforts, the Tritons weren’t able to close out, and Point Loma’s Sea Lions were able to pull ahead with wins in the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5 spots, leading to their single-point victory over the Tritons.
After the final game of the season, the Tritons ended their regular season with an overall record of 12–9 and managed to maintain both rankings of No. 16 nationally and No. 3 regionally until the end.