Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Neil Tengbumroong put the Tritons on the board with a straight-set singles victory at San Diego State Friday.

UC San Diego Drops Opener at San Diego State

UC San Diego

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SAN DIEGO - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team lost in its 2019 dual-match season opener at crosstown foe San Diego State University, 6-1, Friday evening at Aztec Tennis Center.

The tilt between UC San Diego (0-1) and San Diego State (2-1) was originally scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, but moved up two days due to rainy weather expected throughout the weekend. The Aztecs are NCAA Division I members of the Mountain West Conference.

The teams had most recently squared off on Jan. 17, 2015, another 6-1 home win for SDSU, in a contest that counted as an exhibition for the visiting Tritons. It appears that the last time UC San Diego played the Aztecs in a regular-season match for both sides, was a 7-0 road defeat over a decade ago on Feb. 5, 2006.

Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong accounted for UC San Diego's point, winning 6-3, 6-3, over Arnaud Restifo at No. 4 singles. Junior captain Marc Isaia took the opening set from Fabian Roensdorf at No. 1 before succumbing, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Senior Richard Han dropped an agonizing first set via lengthy tiebreak to Jan Kirchhoff at No. 5, 7-6 (14-12). The second set was also a tight one, going 7-5 to the Aztec.

In doubles to start the day, redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) pulled matters even at 1-1 with a 6-1 triumph at No. 1 after senior David Higgins and Sahm Irvine had fallen 6-0 at No. 3.

"The guys competed well in our opener," remarked Timmer Willing, who began his seventh season in charge of the Tritons. "I feel like we accomplished certain aspects of the game and have improved since the fall. There are definitely areas to improve in our play, as well as our coaching styles as we approach an important part of the season over the next two weeks."

The home side wrestled away the doubles point, however, on the strength of a 6-4 decision by Kirchhoff and Ignacio Martinez at No. 2 over Isaia and Tengbumroong.

Ermert and Irvine, a true freshman, were making their official collegiate debuts, as indeed was Higgins, who had yet to draw a dual-match appearance in his first two seasons as a Triton.

UC San Diego is slated to play up the road at future Big West Conference rival UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 12 p.m., weather permitting.

San Diego State 6, UC San Diego 1
Feb. 1, 2019 at San Diego, CA (Aztec Tennis Center)

Doubles competition
1. Zach Ermert/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. S. Gjoels-Andersen/R. Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) 6-1
2. Jan Kirchhoff/Ignacio Martinez (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-4
3. Nicholas Mitchell/Gavin Spencer (SDSU) def. David Higgins/Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-0

Singles competition
1. Fabian Roensdorf (SDSU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
2. Ignacio Martinez (SDSU) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-3, 6-2
3. S. Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU) def. Zach Ermert (UCSD) 6-1, 6-1
4. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Arnaud Restifo (SDSU) 6-3, 6-3
5. Jan Kirchhoff (SDSU) def. Richard Han (UCSD) 7-6 (14-12), 7-5
6. R. Gonzalez Almazan (SDSU) def. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-4, 6-2

Match Notes
UC San Diego 0-1; Regional ranking #4
San Diego State 2-1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,6,4,2,1,5)
Opener for UC San Diego

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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