Men's tennis wins nail biter vs. APU

    UCSD men’s tennis concluded a long homestand by winning 3 of its last four matches. UCSD defeated St. Mary’s College, Claremont College and Azusa Pacific but lost to No. 10 Ouachita Baptist.

    The Tritons defeated the St. Mary’s College Gaels on March 16, 7-2.

    No. 20 UCSD played without their two starters, Sameer Chopra and Blake Wilson-Hayden. Eric Oijala and Brent Molden, along with Doug Hofmann filled in.

    “”Sameer and Blake are definitely two of our stronger players in there. However, our team is strong all the way through,”” said UCSD head coach Eric Steidlmayer.

    The Tritons swept doubles, giving them a 3-0 edge early on.

    UCSD continued their strong play in the singles matches. Their two losses came at No. 2 with Meyer and Emil Novak losing No. 4. The Tritons secured the victory with wins at No. 1 by Swatt, at No. 3 by Wilson, at No. 5 by Hofmann and at No. 6 by Oijala.

    “”Bryan Swatt has been playing well and he continued strong play with a win against Burgemeister. Also, Sean Nagel and Mike Meyer have been playing very solid doubles as of late,”” Steidlmayer said.

    Then the team squared off against No. 10 Ouachita Baptist on March 26. The Tigers won 6-3, and snapped UCSD’s eleven-game winning streak.

    UCSD found itself at a disadvantage early on, dropping two of the three doubles matches. The losses were at No. 1 with Tomas Novak and Wilson losing 8-6 and at No. 2 with Meyer and Nagel losing 8-5. The lone victory was at No. 3 with Swatt and Molden with a score of 8-3.

    The Tritons fought hard in singles, but lost four matches and won two. The Tigers’ Guillame Coubard, ranked No. 3 in the nation, defeated Swatt at No. 1. Meyer and Wilson lost their matches. The two wins came from Wilson-Hayden and Emil Novak.

    The Tritons welcomed back Chopra on March 28 and crushed visiting Claremont College by a score of 8-1.

    “”It was a good match for us today because I think we were able to play guys that are competing hard and we were able to win a lot of those matches at the end,”” Steidlmayer said.

    Back at No. 1 doubles was Chopra who paired with Swatt to defeat the top doubles pair in Division III, Ivan Yeh and John Cham-A-Koon.

    “”Getting Sameer back gives us a lot of confidence. We played a tough team today … we played well and strong,”” Swatt said.

    Paired up for No. 2 were Tomas Novak and Wilson who lost while Meyer and Nagel at won their match No. 3.

    The Tritons swept singles with Chopra, Swatt and Meyer winning. Emil Novak, and Wilson won. Wilson-Hayden also won, despite having to play with a pulled lower back muscle.

    “”I got to check out [John Goldis’] style of play and by the time I started I had a good idea of what I was going to do, [like] play his backhand and be aggressive and I came out strong,”” Wilson-Hayden said.

    The next day, the Tritons came back and beat Azusa Pacific, 5-4.

    UCSD got an early lead by taking two of the three doubles matches. Swatt and Chopra lost their match 8-3. Wilson and Tomas Novak easily won over 8-1 while Meyer and Nagel won 8-6.

    In singles the losses came from Chopra, Meyer and Wilson-Hayden. But, Swatt and Wilson won to even the overall match score to 4-4.

    Playing the last and deciding match were Emil Novak and Tom Jelsma. Emil Novak won the first set 6-3 but Jelsma came back and took the second set 2-6. The third set proved to be very tight and intense. Emil Novak was facing match point at 4-5 when he dove to stay alive in the match. After that, he never looked back as he held his serve and broke back to win 7-5, clinching the victory for UCSD with a score of 5-4.

    “”I kind of got the hint when everyone was here that it was the deciding match,”” Emil Novak said. “”I just got a little nervous when I was down 4-5 … I dove at the match point and he missed it, and I saw it as an opportunity to win. [After that], I had to make him miss and make every ball because I knew I could beat him off the ground.””

    The Tritons will play at home on April 1 against Gustavus Adolphus College at 2 p.m. in the Northview tennis courts.

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