Tritons sweep regionals

    The UCSD men’s tennis team kicked off its preseason by competing in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association West Regional Tournament in Pomona, Calif. from Oct. 2 to Oct. 4. This annual tournament is different from the regular season tournaments because players competed individually rather than as a whole team in order to determine player rankings for the upcoming season.

    The missing presence of the highly competitive schools from Hawaii coupled with UCSD hitting all its strides allowed the Tritons to control play throughout the weekend.

    “”Since the Hawaiian schools weren’t [at the tournament], we all felt like we had a good shot at doing well,”” junior Bryan Swatt said. “”Our goal was to have as many [UCSD players] in the quarterfinals and semifinals as possible.””

    Three out of the top four seeds in singles were Tritons with senior Sameer Chopra seeded No. 1, Swatt seeded No. 2 and junior Emil Novak seeded No. 4.

    Chopra, Swatt, Emil Novak, Tomas Novak, Brent

    Molden, Amir Nejad, Jeff Wilson, Nick Morton and Sean Higginbotham all played in the singles bracket. In addition, Swatt and Nejad, Morton and Molden, Wilson and Chopra, and the Novak brothers teamed up to play doubles in the tournament.

    Out of the six colleges competing, UCSD players dominated from the beginning, losing only two of 18 singles matches in the first through third rounds. In addition, UCSD dropped only one match out of eight in doubles through the second and quarterfinal rounds. Six of the eight players in the singles quarterfinals and semifinals were Tritons. Three of the four doubles pairs in the semifinals were composed of UCSD players.

    The Tritons continued their domination late in the tournament, sending all their players to the finals for singles and doubles. Swatt captured the title in the men’s singles portion, defeating Emil Novak 6-3, 6-3. Winning doubles was the senior pairing of Wilson and Chopra, getting past Swatt and senior Nejad with a score of 8-3.

    This strong showing was a pleasant surprise to UCSD men’s tennis head coach Eric Steidlmayer.

    “”Our team performed a bit better than I thought that they could. I was pleased all the way through the lineup with the way we competed. Obviously, a guy like Bryan [Swatt] really showed he has improved from last season, but I think there are several players who also have made progress,”” Steidlmayer said. “”As for the upcoming season in spring, it is much too early to tell what one good result will show for us, but certainly it is a positive.””

    The West Regionals finals victory for Swatt, Wilson and Chopra earns them a trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Oct. 15 to play in the Division II National Championships. Swatt will play singles, while Wilson and Chopra team up for doubles.

    “”I am hopeful that they will go to win, gain some experience and have fun,”” Steidlmayer said. “”This is the only national championships for Division II, so I am very pleased that our players will be able to participate.””

    In addition, Swatt and his teammates hope that the success of this tournament will put UCSD on the map and help out with recruitment in the future. He is also looking forward to playing in Corpus Christi.

    “”I’m really looking forward to competing against the best in the country,”” Swatt said. “”It will be tough, but I am hoping to play well and represent UCSD.””

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