Top Men's Tennis Pair Wins D-II Doubles Title

    Seniors Blake Meister and Eric Rubens are used to success as
    a doubles team, coming off a 19-4 season and school-best Final Four finish a
    year ago. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Americans trekked to
    Mobile, Ala. and continued the success, taking home some heavy hardware during
    the ITA National Championships, a prestigious tennis showcase that took place
    from Oct. 11 to Oct. 14.

    To begin their unprecedented run, the duo claimed the
    Division II Men’s Doubles title, and then won the ITA Super Bowl of Small
    College Tennis two days later, completing an impressive weekend. The win
    clinched a spot in the ITA Division I Indoor Championships at Ohio State
    University from Nov. 1 to Nov. 4, a tournament where the Triton combo will be the
    only Division II representative in the draw.

    The doubles team had to win all five of its matches over the
    four days to earn a spot at the exclusive Division I tournament and according
    to Meister, he and Rubens were running on all cylinders.

    “We played great the entire tournament,” Meister said. “We
    had to because there were some pretty close matches.”

    In the D-II tournament, Rubens and Meister took out their
    first round opponents, Joerg Ekkenga and Leos Jelinek of Valdosta State, by a
    score of 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7). The win was especially satisfying because it was
    Valdosta State that took down UCSD in the Final Four of the Division II Team
    Tournament last season.

    Following that victory, the Tritons’ top doubles pair
    defeated Ryan Hudson and Juan Nunez of Abilene Christian University of Abilene,
    Texas, 7-5, 7-5, to put themselves in the finals. In the championship match,
    the top-seeded doubles team took home their first title by getting past
    Dagoberto Darezzo and Edward Horne of the University of South Carolina-Aiken.
    The 7-6 (2), 6-3, 10-8 victory was “a match we definitely could have lost,”
    Meister said. Blake added, “Eric came up huge during the late stages of the
    match, hitting a big serve at 8-8, then a great return at 9-8 to clinch the win
    for us.”

    As champions of the Division II Doubles tournament, Rubens
    and Mesiter were automatically drawn into the ITA Super Bowl of Small College
    Tennis where the doubles champions from Division II, III, National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and
    junior colleges came together with a spot at the Division I Indoors on the
    line. First, UCSD’s top doubles team faced the Division III champs, Filip
    Marinkovic and Andrew Thompson from Middlebury College in Vermont, and came out
    on top with a 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 victory. Rubens and Meister were able to win their
    second trophy of the trip with a 7-6 (6), 7-5 win over the Fresno Pacific
    University team of Matt Carroll and Vicente Joli.

    Rubens and Meister ended last season as the nation’s fourth
    best doubles team, according to the Fila collegiate tennis rankings. They are
    determined to improve on that standing, having already beaten one of the teams
    that finished ahead of them last year.

    Meister has enjoyed his opportunity to play alongside Rubens
    and hopes the pair’s cohesion can propel them toward a better finish than last
    year.

    “Last year, it was awesome to finish fourth,” Meister said.
    “But as seniors we relish the chance to play together again and improve on that
    ranking.”

    With their tournament victories, Rubens and Meister will
    almost assuredly land as the top men’s doubles team in Division II when the
    rankings come out early next month.

    Bijan Moallemi also took part in the ITA National
    Championships as UCSD’s sole singles player. Moallemi lost his first round
    match 7-5, 6-1 to top-seeded Stefan Borg of Drury University in Springfield,
    Mo., but rebounded to win the consolation bracket and fifth place with two
    hard-fought victories. The first was a come-from-behind victory over Robert
    Jendeleund of Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., by a 4-6,
    6-3, 6-4 score, and was followed by a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over William Jacome of
    the University of Nebraska-Kearney.

    From Oct. 26 to Oct. 28 the top four players on the men’s
    tennis team will travel to Berkeley to participate in the Chandler Cup, a
    competition that will also feature Division I competition. While Rubens and
    Meister will head to Ohio after the Chandler Cup, the rest of the UCSD squad
    will compete in the annual Southern California Intercollegiate Tournament in Los
    Angeles from Oct. 31 to Nov. 4.

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