Photo by: Andy Wilhelm
Junior Marius Ruh produced a winning season debut in singles at the No. 6 spot.

UC San Diego Defeated by No. 15 Hawai'i Pacific, 5-2

UC San Diego

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KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team was beaten by No. 15 Hawai'i Pacific University, 5-2, Saturday at the Holua Tennis Center.

With the result, UC San Diego falls to 1-3, having defeated Holy Names University in its first of three tilts on the Big Island, 6-1, on Friday. Hawai'i Pacific, located on O'ahu, is 1-0 after finally contesting its season opener.

The Tritons had swept two meetings with the Sharks a year ago, both 6-3, with one in Kona and the other in La Jolla.

"The guys competed well against a very good team," said UC San Diego head coach Timmer Willing. "HPU brought in some top players that added a lot of depth to the lineup, with last year's top players playing in the bottom half."

Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) won in tiebreaker fashion at No. 1, 7-6 (7-1), but the Sharks had already clinched the doubles point by then. It was a third win in that spot for the duo out of four contests thus far in 2019.

In singles, Ermert (11-9) and junior Marius Ruh (10-5), at No. 4 and No. 6, edged out their opponents in super tiebreaks after the result was already out of doubt in favor of HPU. Ermert's win was over sophomore Maxime Gayte, ranked ninth in the West Region. Ruh, making his season debut in singles, rallied after dropping the first set.

"We played a great tiebreaker to close out a doubles win," continued Willing. "Marius (Ruh) and Zach held off their opponents and competed well to win deciding tiebreakers in their singles matches. Some fatigue is starting to set in with the travel, warm sun and high-level competition. Hilo will be a big challenge tomorrow and we need to prepare physically tonight for tomorrow's match."

UC San Diego has one last match in Hawai'i, Sunday against 10th-ranked host Hawai'i Hilo. The action at the Holua Tennis Center gets under way at 4:30 p.m. PT (2:30 p.m. HT). The Vulcans were ranked No. 1 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll on Jan. 16, with HPU third and Tritons fourth.

UC San Diego is three dates into a critical stretch of seven straight matches against the other seven teams that appeared in the top eight of that poll.

#15 Hawai'i Pacific 5, UC San Diego 2
Feb 16, 2019 at Kailua-Kona, HI (Holua Tennis Center)

Doubles competition
1. Zach Ermert/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Maxime Gayte/Valentin Masse (HPU) 7-6 (7-1)
2. Lukas Bauer/Cheng-Chieh Wang (HPU) def. Marc Isaia/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-1
3. Ondrej Ctverak/Benjamin Loccisano (HPU) def. David Higgins/Marius Ruh (UCSD) 6-2

Singles competition
1. #31 Valentin Masse (HPU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-0, 7-5
2. Ondrej Ctverak (HPU) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-0, 6-2
3. Cheng-Chieh Wang (HPU) def. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
4. Zach Ermert (UCSD) def. Maxime Gayte (HPU) 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 11-9
5. Benjamin Loccisano (HPU) def. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-2, 6-3
6. Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Lukas Bauer (HPU) 6-7, 6-3, 10-5

Match Notes
UC San Diego 1-3; Regional ranking #4
Hawai'i Pacific 1-0; National ranking #15; Regional ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (5,2,1,3,4,6)

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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