Triton Duo Scores Spot in ITA Nationals

Junior Armaun Emami (left) and his doubles partner, redshirt freshman Austin West (not pictured) went undefeated at the ITA West Region to earn a spot at the National Championships from Oct. 15 to Oct 17. Along with being the sole UCSD participants, Emami and Austin will be the only representatives entire West Region. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian File)
Junior Armaun Emami (left) and his doubles partner, redshirt freshman Austin West (not pictured) went undefeated at the ITA West Region to earn a spot at the National Championships from Oct. 15 to Oct 17. Along with being the sole UCSD participants, Emami and Austin will be the only representatives entire West Region. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian File)

TENNIS — The UCSD men’s and women’s tennis teams began their seasons at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association West Region Championships, held at the Cal Poly Pomona campus from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3.

The Triton men kicked off the 2009 campaign with several victories at the tournament: A UCSD doubles team took first place, and two singles players advanced to the semifinal round.

Despite sweeping all nine of their opening-day matches on Oct. 1, the women’s team succumbed to tougher competition on day two, when they were eliminated from the tournament.

Junior Armaun Emami was very pleased with its season-opening performance, crediting the strong start to intensive training and preparation.

“Before the game, we went over our plans and strategies,” Emami said. “Coach [Steidlmayer] kept boosting our confidence. We knew we had to capitalize on our opportunities.”

The lone Tritons who emerged unscathed from the late-round matches were Emami and redshirt freshman Austin West, whose doubles team defeated a Sonoma State duo to claim the ITA West Region doubles championship.

The title earns Emami and West an automatic ticket to the ITA National Championships, which will be held from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17 in Mobile, AL.

Both the men’s and women’s teams won with ease on the tournament’s first day, but ran into trouble in the quarter and semifinal games on Oct. 2 and Oct. 3.

Junior Erik Elliot comfortably defeated Sonoma State’s Anthony Rollins 6-0, 6-4 in his quarterfinal match, but lost in the semifinals to Brigham Young University Hawaii’s Agnel Peter 6-2, 2-6,10-8. Similarly, sophomore Jake Fellow defeated UCSD teammate Emami, 6-2, 6-1 — but fell to Sonoma State’s Conor Olson 6-2, 6-4 in the next round.

In the doubles event on Oct. 2, junior Erik Elliott and his partner sophomore Billy McCall were defeated 8-6 by Sonoma players Olson and Taylor Bianco. Apart from the loss, UCSD won all its second-round doubles contests on the second day of the tournament.

Redshirt junior Alex Placek and sophomore Chapman Chan beat Sonoma State duo Bryce Keefer and Quan Vu 9-8 in a closely fought matchup that earned them a spot in the doubles semifinals.

Emami and West sunk Grand Canyon University duo Eric Schroeder and Brian Kirby 8-3, propelling themselves forward in the tournament.

Fellow and sophomore Sam Ling sealed a 9-7 victory against the Broncos’ top doubles team Joshua Lau and Keith Boggero to round up UCSD’s doubles events on Friday.

The Oct. 3 semifinal round commenced with Emami and West defeating fellow UCSD pair Placek and Chan 8-5 to advance to the tournament’s final match.

Sonoma State duo Olson and Bianco defeated Fellow and Ling in a grueling 9-7 battle to earn their spot in the championship game against Emami and West. The UCSD duo played strong en route to an 8-5 victory, dispatching their Sonoma State opponents and claiming the tournament championship.

“It was tied 6-6, and the other team came up with some big serves,” head coach Eric Steidlmayer said. “[Emami and West] just hung in there and were able to pull out the win.”

On the women’s side, the third round proved to be UCSD’s downfall. Sophomore Krystal Mizuguchi was defeated 6-0, 6-1 by one of the bracket’s top seeds: BYU-Hawaii sophomore Yuan Ji.

In the same round, junior Roxanna Pourmirzaie lost to Cal Poly Pomona’s Jackie Trendt 6-2, 6-2.

Katie Mulloy and Samantha Yeung, the remaining Triton singles players, were unable to move past the third round.

However, despite their elimination in the singles bracket, Mulloy and Pourmirzaie formed a doubles team that provided UCSD’s lone victory in Oct. 2’s women’s tournament. They defeated Cal State Los Angeles’ Dori Kiss and Linda Majzlikova 8-4. Mulloy and Pourmirzaie could not, however, continue their roll, and were knocked out in the quarterfinals by a Cal Poly Pomona pair.

“I was really impressed with how the team hung in there,” women’s head coach Liz LaPlante said. “For the first matches of the season, I was pleased.”

UCSD’s other doubles pair, Yeung and Mizuguchi, lost 8-0 to BYU-Hawaii’s No. 1-seeded team, ending the Triton women’s run in the ITA West Region Championship.

Emami and West will represent the entire West Region at the ITA National Championship, which will be held in Mobile, Ala., from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17. UCSD’s last showing at the ITA National Championship was in 2007, by doubles partners Eric Rubens and Blake Meister.

West said she was very pleased with the Tritons’ first tournament of the 2009 season, and hopes they maintain their momentum.

“We stayed positive throughout the game and kept playing hard,” West said. “We need to keep our consistency from the baseline going [for the ITA National Championship].”

Before the ITA National Championship, the men will face Point Loma Nazarene University on Oct. 9. The Triton women will be back in action on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 to compete at UC Irvine.

Readers can contact Jessy Jahangir at [email protected].

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