No warm welcome for Wildcats

    It would seem like a relief to leave snow-riddled Philadelphia to play tennis in sunny La Jolla. Not quite so for Villanova’s men’s tennis, which was trounced 9-0 by UCSD on March 5.

    The 20th-ranked Tritons handed the Wildcats their fifth loss in a row, while UCSD improved its record to 9-1 overall. Although the Wildcats are in Division I and the Tritons are Division II, UCSD was clearly the better team.

    “”The competition wasn’t as strong as our team is. We were able to do pretty well … [Villanova] tried hard, but they’re not quite at our level. We did fine, and we did what we needed to do,”” said UCSD head coach Eric Steidlmayer.

    Playing at No. 1 in singles was senior Michael Meyer, who defeated Brad Adams 6-0, 6-3. The Tritons’ captain has undergone shoulder and ankle surgery and is looking to return to his original form.

    “”I thought I started off pretty good … I’ve been a little rusty just because I’ve been coming back off of [injuries], so I didn’t play for five, six months … it was good to get a win,”” Meyer said.

    He stuck to his game plan of “”counterpunching”” and capitalized on his quickness over his Wildcat counterpart.

    “”I could tell that [Adams] wasn’t the best mover on the court, so I tried to run him and get him tired,”” he said.

    The rest of the Tritons edged out the Wildcats in straight sets. At No. 2, sophomore Bryan Swatt defeated Ryan Devine 6-1, 6-3. No. 3 sophomore Emil Novak topped Aaron Kusza 6-2, 6-2. No. 4 junior Jeff Wilson beat Ricardo Baraldi 6-1, 6-2, and No. 5 junior Blake Wilson-Hayden won 6-2, 6-1.

    Finishing off the singles sweep was junior Sean Nagel, who slid past John Toppel 6-3, 6-4.

    “”[My match] went pretty well — mostly I went in with the game plan … I just wanted to go in and have fun … put some solid first serves on the court and move the ball around quickly,”” Wilson-Hayden said.

    With this win, Wilson-Hayden improved his singles record to 8-1 for the season.

    In doubles, UCSD continued to dominate, battling hard and picking up all three matches. At No. 1 were Swatt and freshman Tomas Novak, who rallied past Devine and Kester with a score of 8-6. At No. 2 were Wilson and sophomore Nick Morton, who beat Adams and Baraldi 8-3, and Meyer and Nagel finished off Toppel and Goulet 8-4.

    The next day, the Tritons played a scrimmage match against visiting Brandeis University from Massachusetts, with UCSD easily winning 9-0.

    The men’s tennis team is taking its wins in stride, happy with its decisive wins, but still keeping its goals in mind.

    “”We have to think that when we win a match it’s good, but we want to do better than that. We want to be thinking about our longer term goals … we’re getting into a little better fitness, and we’re starting to play a little more competitively,”” Steidlmayer said.

    Wayne State University from Michigan will fly in to San Diego to square off against UCSD on March 10 at 2 p.m. in the Northview Tennis Courts.

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