Tritons Cruise Over Holy Names for First Dual Success of 2019
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - It may seem a touch dramatic to call the season's third match a must-win affair, but in the midst of a gauntlet that will see it play seven of its top regional competitors all in a row, including three straight this weekend, it wasn't that far-fetched for the University of California San Diego men's tennis team.
UC San Diego, having endured an even-longer-than-anticipated travel day Thursday to the Big Island of Hawai'i, mustered enough energy to dispatch Holy Names University, 6-1, at the Holua Tennis Center on Friday afternoon.
With its first win of the 2019 dual-match campaign, UC San Diego improved to 1-2. The contest served as the season opener for Holy Names (0-1), located in Oakland. The Hawks had two prior dates wiped out by adverse weather.
The Tritons have now taken the last eight meetings between the sides, who have played each other at least once every year going back through the 2014 dual campaign. The closest score previously was 7-2. The series most recently included an 8-1 romp in La Jolla last March prior to a rematch in Oakland that was suspended by rain and unable to be completed. Friday's was the first neutral-site matchup.
UC San Diego took the doubles point for the first time this season, sweeping all three positions. Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) won at No. 1 for the second time in 2019, 6-2. That was over senior Hugo Colpart and sophomore Alexandre Vinee-Munoz, both natives of Poitiers, France, who are the West Region's No. 4-ranked tandem.
Junior captain Marc Isaia and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong knocked off Giovanni Fragalle and John Giesberts, 6-3, at No. 2. Senior Richard Han and junior Marius Ruh teamed up for the first time this season and got past Philip Achenbach and Javier Luque by that identical score. It was Han's 2019 debut in doubles.
In singles, Manoharan (6-2, 6-0) and Ermert (6-1, 6-4) picked up easy straight-set victories at No. 6 and No. 4, respectively, to push the Hawks to the brink of defeat. True freshman Sahm Irvine then completed his first collegiate singles win, 6-4, 6-4, at No. 2 against Colpart, ranked No. 37 nationally in Division II, and seventh in the West Region to Irvine's 20. That result clinched the match for UC San Diego, up 4-0.
From there, Tengbumroong went on to complete his rally from a first-set defeat against Giesberts at No. 3, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. The West Covina product is now a perfect 3-0 in singles on the year. Han fell 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, at No. 5 to Valentin Baranyi. To round out the action, Isaia edged Vinee-Munoz in two close sets, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), for his first singles success of 2019, and first of his career in the No. 1 spot. Vinee-Munoz is No. 12 in the West and Isaia is No. 15.
"This one was pretty big, getting our first win," said seventh-year UC San Diego head coach Timmer Willing. "Clinching with our freshman (Sahm Irvine) earning his first collegiate win, on a big shot on match point, was great. We had some travel problems yesterday where we were in flight or in transit for about 16 hours, so I was really happy with how we got up in the morning and responded this afternoon. We played really well in doubles and got up on them, 1-0. Then two quick singles wins and we clinched at No. 2. It was nice to get a win against a talented team."
UC San Diego remains on the Big Island to take on 15th-ranked Hawai'i Pacific (0-0) on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. PT (3 p.m. HT) in another big regional and neutral-site affair at the Holua Tennis Center. The Tritons beat the Sharks twice last year.
UC San Diego is still toward the beginning of a critical stretch of seven straight matches against the other seven teams that appeared in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll on Jan. 16. The Tritons are fourth, with Holy Names eighth. Their opponents on Saturday and Sunday, Hawai'i Pacific and host Hawai'i Hilo, are third and first, respectively.
UC San Diego 6, Holy Names 1
Feb. 15, 2019 at Kailua-Kona, HI (Holua Tennis Center)
1. Zach Ermert/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Hugo Colpart/Alex Vinee-Munoz (HNU) 6-2
2. Marc Isaia/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Giovanni Fragalle/John Giesberts (HNU) 6-3
3. Richard Han/Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Philip Achenbach/Javier Luque (HNU) 6-3
1. Marc Isaia (UCSD) def. Alex Vinee-Munoz (HNU) 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) def. #37 Hugo Colpart (HNU) 6-4, 6-4
3. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. John Giesberts (HNU) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
4. Zach Ermert (UCSD) def. Javier Luque (HNU) 6-1, 6-4
5. Valentin Baranyi (HNU) def. Richard Han (UCSD) 6-3, 2-6, 6-0
6. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Philip Achenbach (HNU) 6-2, 6-0
Holy Names 0-1; Regional ranking #8
UC San Diego 1-2; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,4,2,3,5,1)
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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