Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong won his first set on the No. 3 singles court before his match was ultimately halted.

UC San Diego Falls to No. 16 Hawai'i Pacific

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team was felled by a difficult opponent in No. 16 Hawai'i Pacific University, 4-0, at Northview Tennis Courts on Thursday afternoon.

With the loss, UC San Diego is now 4-7. Hawai'i Pacific remained perfect at 5-0, including 3-0 on its four-match California trip. The teams had already met once this year, in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, with HPU earning a 5-2 decision back on Feb. 16.

In doubles, freshman Sahm Irvine and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong, and redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and senior Richard Han, lost by the identical score of 6-2 on the No. 2 and No. 3 courts, respectively. At No. 1, juniors Marc Isaia and Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) had overturned a 4-2 deficit to lead, 5-4, but with the Triton women competing right afterward, the contest was played to clinch, so that tilt was halted.

Thursday's match began about an hour and a half later than scheduled, at 1:30 rather than noon, as it took a considerable amount of time to get the courts dry after rain Wednesday, ahead of a neutral-site affair on a tripleheader day at UC San Diego.

Ermert (6-2, 6-2), Irvine (6-3, 6-1) and Han (6-4, 6-3) were defeated, in that order, in straight sets in singles play at No. 4, No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, to clinch the match result for the visiting Sharks. Irvine was facing the 31st-ranked player nationally in Division II, Valentin Massé. The native of France is rated fifth in the West Region, with Irvine, playing in the No. 1 spot for just the second time, 20th. Ermert was up against Benjamin Loccisano, 13th in the West.

Once again, the remainder of action was halted, with the final score thus misleadingly lopsided, as the Tritons were firmly vying for wins on each of those other three courts. They took the first set at all three positions, with Isaia at No. 2, 6-3. The captain in fact had Ondrej Ctverak on the brink, ahead 5-3 in the second.

Tengbumroong beat Cheng-Chieh Wang in their opener at No. 3, 6-3, and trailed 6-5 in the second. Manoharan split his two sets at No. 5, 6-3, 1-6.

"With the rain delays and everything, I thought our guys responded pretty well," said seventh-year UC San Diego head coach Timmer Willing. "HPU came out and played really well at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles and got the point. We were up at No. 1, so I was pretty happy with our lineup and how we were doing. It was just not quite good enough. That was a good team in the way they played today.

"In the singles lineup, we were in every match. Sahm gets that one game at 3-5, he has chances and makes it tight. That drags that one out. We were winning at No. 2, No. 3, 4 was a tough matchup for Zach, and we were in it at 5. If we could have turned around Richard, that was the match right there. Overall, that's a close loss compared to what you'll see in the score. I can't fault the guys on how we competed, and hung with a top-10 team."

UC San Diego remains in home action against a top-ranked opponent, welcoming in No. 4 West Florida this Sunday, March 10. Doubles action begins at 10 a.m. at Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla. Parking and admission are free. The Argonauts were Division II national champions for the fourth time in 2017.

#16 Hawai'i Pacific 4, UC San Diego 0
March 7, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) vs. Maxime Gayte/Valentin Masse (HPU) 5-4, unfinished
2. Lukas Bauer/Cheng-Chieh Wang (HPU) def. Sahm Irvine/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-2
3. Ondrej Ctverak/Benjamin Loccisano (HPU) def. Zach Ermert/Richard Han (UCSD) 6-2

Singles competition
1. #31 Valentin Masse (HPU) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-3, 6-1
2. Marc Isaia (UCSD) vs. Ondrej Ctverak (HPU) 6-3, 5-3, unfinished
3. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) vs. Cheng-Chieh Wang (HPU) 6-3, 5-6, unfinished
4. Benjamin Loccisano (HPU) def. Zach Ermert (UCSD) 6-2, 6-2
5. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) vs. Maxime Gayte (HPU) 6-3, 1-6, unfinished
6. Lukas Bauer (HPU) def. Richard Han (UCSD) 6-4, 6-3

Match Notes
Hawai'i Pacific 5-0; National ranking #16; Regional ranking #3
UC San Diego 4-7; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,1,6)
T-1:54 A-50

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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