Photo by: Shelly Blunck/UH Hilo Athletics
Freshman Sahm Irvine teamed up for a win at No. 3 doubles, and almost completed a second-set singles rally.

Tritons Open Lengthy Homestand With 4-0 Defeat to Sonoma State

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team dropped a pair of tiebreaks to relinquish the doubles point, and went on to a 4-0 defeat against Sonoma State University Sunday afternoon at Northview Tennis Courts.

UC San Diego fell to 2-5, with Sonoma State moving to 2-1. The Seawolves had edged out a 5-4 home decision in last year's meeting. Sunday likely marked their first-ever success in La Jolla.

The contest was a key regional tilt with postseason implications. The Tritons are ranked No. 4 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll, and Sonoma State right behind in fifth.

UC San Diego has one final match remaining in a critical stretch of seven straight dates with the other seven teams that appeared in the top eight of that ITA West Region listing. The Tritons continue a season-long nine-match homestand against Concordia Irvine, rated sixth, on Monday afternoon, Feb. 25. The action at Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla begins with doubles at 3 p.m.

For the second time this week, the Tritons held a match point to secure the doubles point, but surrendered it. They were able to bounce back in singles at city rival Point Loma nonetheless on Friday, but were not so fortunate on Sunday.

Freshman Sahm Irvine and Marius Ruh were the first pair to finish on the No. 3 court, winning 6-4. The other two matches both ended in identical tiebreak scores of 7-6 (7-3), in favor of the visitors. Junior captain Marc Isaia and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong achieved that match point at No. 2, but a fluky occurrence enabled the Seawolf pair to stave it off and then win the contest for themselves.

Straight-set losses in singles for Isaia at No. 1 (6-3, 6-1), redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) at No. 4 (7-5, 6-4) and Irvine at No. 2 (6-0, 7-5), clinched the result for Sonoma State. Ermert actually led 4-1 in his first set, but could not maintain that momentum. Irvine did a good job of battling in his matchup, overturning a 3-2 deficit in his second set to go up 5-3, before succumbing 7-5.

The other three singles thus were halted. Juniors Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and Ruh were first-set winners at No. 5 (6-2) and No. 6. Ruh took his in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-5), and led 5-1 in the second when play was stopped. Tengbumroong took his second set 6-3 to pull even at No. 2, and led in the third, 2-1.

"It happened again," remarked UC San Diego head coach Timmer Willing about the doubles outcome. "When you have a match point and don't get it, it can come back and get you with the no-ad (advantage) scoring. That changed the entire complexion of the match.

"You have to give (Sonoma State) credit. They came out enthusiastic and energetic, and rallied around some adversity. They had a good perspective, didn’t let things bother them, and were competitive all the way through to the end. They played well in doubles and did a good job. We got one and couldn't quite get the other, and that makes things tough."

Sonoma State 4, UC San Diego 0
Feb. 24, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Max Nudell/Nate Oppenheim (SSU) def. Zach Ermert/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 7-6 (7-3)
2. Igor Pissarenko/Alec Wong (SSU) def. Marc Isaia/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 7-6 (7-3)
3. Sahm Irvine/Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Josh Liu/Santiago Sarudiansky (SSU) 6-4

Singles competition
1. Nate Oppenheim (SSU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-3, 6-1
2. Santiago Sarudiansky (SSU) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-0, 7-5
3. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) vs. Max Nudell (SSU) 2-6, 6-3, 2-1, unfinished
4. Igor Pissarenko (SSU) def. Zach Ermert (UCSD) 7-5, 6-4
5. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) vs. Josh Liu (SSU) 6-2, 4-6, 0-1, unfinished
6. Marius Ruh (UCSD) vs. Nicky Valdecanas (SSU) 7-6 (7-5), 5-1, unfinished

Match Notes
Sonoma State 2-1; Regional ranking #5
UC San Diego 2-5; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (1,4,2)
T-2:42 A-110

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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