UCSD Pair Makes a Splash at Elite Tourney

    MEN’S TENNIS — The UCSD men’s tennis team held its own at the 53rd annual Southern California Intercollegiate Championships from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7, despite entering a competition stocked full of Division-I opponents.

    “As a team, we preformed well and at a high level,” head coach Eric Steidlmayer said. “Going into the next season, we need to be the best competitors. There were teams in the competition that did that, and we need to take that [mentality] and win every match.”

    In the qualifying rounds on Nov. 4, sophomore Jake Fellow beat UC Santa Barbara’s Josh Finkelstein 2-6, 6-2 (10-4). However, in the following round, Fellow lost to UCLA’s Alex Brigham 6-2, 6-2.

    Redshirt junior Alex Placek advanced to the Round of 32 due to his first opponent’s withdrawal from the tournament.

    Placek then breezed past Loyola Marymount University’s Nick Vonderahe 6-2, 6-1, advancing to face his next opponent on Nov. 5: University of San Diego’s Charl Worlmarans.

    In UCSD’s other opening-round matchups, LMUs Otto Sauer defeated sophomore Sam Ling 6-1, 6-0; junior Vincent Nguyen lost to Borja Malet of LMU 4-6, 7-6 (10-3); and redshirt freshman Austin West lost to UCLA’s Ahmed Ismail 6-4, 6-0.

    Ling and Nguyen made amends for their Wednesday losses the following day by rebounding with a pair of solid victories against two freshmen from Azusa Pacific University.

    Ling defeated Pacific’s Ilja Ikannikov 6-0, 6-4, while Nguyen took his match against Whitman Hough 6-2, 4-6 (10-2). Ling’s and Nguyen’s experience in the championship will aid UCSD in facing off against Azusa Pacific University in the Tritons’ second match of the 2010 spring season.

    In the second day of the tournament, Placek lost to USD’s Charl Wolmarans 6-0, 6-1. Junior Erik Elliot, who had already received an automatic berth into the main draw, lost a close match to UC Irvine’s Stephen Stege 6-4, 6-4. Fellow was likewise unsuccessful in his Round of 32 match. He fell to UCLA’s Holden Seguso 6-2, 6-0.

    When the tournament’s doubles competition got underway Thursday afternoon, the Tritons proved equally unsuccessful against their Division-I competitors.

    Fellow and Ling lost to UC Riverside duo Quoc Doan and Felix Marcherez 8-2. Sophomore Chapman Chan and Placek suffered a defeat against UC Irvine’s Fabian Matthews and Shimpei Suzuki 8-2. Junior Armaun Emami and freshman Austin West, who were crowned ITA West Region Doubles Champions and put on a strong performance at the ITA National Champions, lost a close contest against LMU’s Renzo Maggi and Malet 8-5.

    The Tritons fared slightly better in their singles matchups on day three of the tournament, as Nguyen edged past UC Santa Barbara’s Finkelstein — one of the Gauchos’ best players — in a tough 7-6, 6-3 matchup.

    After a back-and-forth third-round match, Ling eventually grabbed a victory against UC Irvine’s Zac Tsai.

    After Ling lost the first set to Tsai 6-2, he went on to win the second set 6-3, forcing a tiebreaker.

    Ling took the match after a 10-4 tiebreaker, advancing to Saturday’s semifinals to face Azusa Pacific University’s Janosch Apelt.

    Day three for the Tritons also saw Fellow lose his match against Pepperdine University’s Fanselow 7-6, 6-1, and Placek enter another tie-breaking set only to lose 6-7, 6-0 (10-5) — the official end of their run in the Southern California Intercollegiate Championship.

    In the tournament’s final round on Nov. 7, Nguyen faced Azusa Pacific’s Janosch Apelt in the semifinals of the singles qualifying back draw and was quickly swept 6-0, 6-0.

    Ling defeated UC Riverside’s Quoc Doan to set up his championship match with Apelt.

    Apelt, a transfer student from Germany, had few problems defeating Ling — and took the qualifying back-draw title with 6-2 and 6-0 wins.

    “[Ling] played well,” Steidlmayer said. “It was a good tournament for him overall. He took on some tough opponents — especially today with Apelt. That’s the way it goes.”

    The Tritons’ appearance at the Southern California Intercollegiate Championship concludes a men’s fall schedule that included three open tournaments but no team competitions. UCSD returns to action for its spring season on Feb. 1, when it hosts Concordia Irvine.

    Readers can contact Jessy Jahangir at [email protected].

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