Men’s tennis blanks Western New Mexico

    After a disappointing spring break run, the ninth-ranked UCSD men’s tennis team began the second half of the season with a convincing 9-0 match against Western New Mexico on March 29. The victory improved the men’s overall record to 8-4 with an upcoming game on April 5 against Loyola Marymount.

    The men began the match confident in their abilities against a relatively young Western New Mexico team. The Tritons swept all three doubles sets with the same score across the lineup, 8-3. Senior captain Bryan Swatt teamed up with junior Brent Molden to defeat Rafael Catay and Steve Patton at No. 1 doubles, while junior Erik Oijala and freshman Blake Meister played No. 2 doubles and defeated Jon Sklenar and Renato Varello and freshman duo Alex Whitmore and Will Phan defeated sibling duo Billy and Lloyd Wilton at No. 3 doubles.

    With a 3-0 lead, the Tritons carried their momentum through the singles matches, allowing the Mustangs only 16 games across the board.

    Both Swatt, at No. 1 singles, and Whitmore, at No. 6 singles, “double-bageled” their opponents, Catay for a quick victory, while Molden only allowed his opponent two games in a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles. At No. 3 singles, Oijala defeated Renato Varella, 6-4, 6-2, during which Phan, at No. 4 singles, breezed through a 6-0, 6-1 victory. At No. 5 singles, Meister defeated Jon Sklenar, 6-3, 6-4 to seal the 9-0 victory.

    The victory came off a tough spring break schedule, in which the Tritons faced four top-ranked teams, including No. 1 West Florida.

    “I think that they prepared the best they could coming out of finals,” head coach Erik Steidlmayer said. “Certainly we weren’t in peak physically, mentally or from a tennis perspective. But we practiced during finals week, twice on Saturday after finals and Sunday as well before our match on Monday. The boys tried hard throughout.”

    On March 26, the men battled hard against a tough No. 3 Barry University team. Oijala and Meister were able to pick up a victory for the Tritons at No. 3 doubles, defeating Alex Praderas and Andre Varella, 8-3. Meister recorded the only other victory for UCSD at No. 6 singles, defeating Praderas, 6-4, 6-3.

    Both Swatt and Oijala faced tough battles at No. 1 and No. 4 singles, respectively. Swatt fought in a long see-saw struggle against Thomas Hipp. Swatt won the first set 6-3, but lost the second and third by a small margin, 5-7, 9-11. Oijala won his first set against Manciel Lauter, 6-2, but narrowly lost the second and third, 6-3, 10-8.

    “We played some good singles versus Barry University, especially in the first sets,” Steidlmayer said. “We really played at a strong level for us, and were very competitive at all spots versus a very strong team. That was a highlight for me as a coach to see the grit, effort and the level.”

    The only victory of spring break for the Tritons came the day before, on March 25, against No. 26 Southwest Baptist. No. 2 doubles, Swatt and Rubens, and No. 3 doubles, Oijala and Meister, pulled off victories to give the Tritons a 2-1 lead going into the singles matches.

    At No. 2 singles, Molden struggled through an impressive win, 7-5, 7-5, over Daniel Prerad, while Oijala pulled off a three-set victory over Hunter Emmott 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. The Tritons added two more wins from Rubens and Phan to give the men a 6-3 win.

    The men will have to push themselves through mental and physical barriers to take on top-ranked teams in the second half of the season if they want to make it into the NCAA playoffs, Steidlmayer said.

    The Tritons will have a week to rest up before their next match against a young Loyola Marymount team in Los Angeles on April 5.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $210
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal