Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Seniors Richard Han (left) and David Higgins each aided in doubles victories, with Han also a winner at No. 5 singles.

UC San Diego Rallies for Doubles Point, Cruises to 6-1 Win Over Quinnipiac

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team came back from behind to earn a hard-fought doubles point before dominating in singles play to dispatch Quinnipiac University, 6-1, at Northview Tennis Courts on Wednesday afternoon.

UC San Diego improved to 5-8 in snapping a two-match slide. Quinnipiac, an NCAA Division I institution located in Hamden, Conn., fell to 4-8, having earlier lost 5-2 to Purdue in a neutral-site affair. It was likely the first-ever meeting between the sides. The Bobcats are 0-4 on their five-match Spring Break trip to Southern California.

UC San Diego stormed back to take a thrilling doubles point. The Tritons trailed for the majority on all three courts, 4-1 on the first two and 4-2 at No. 3. The Bobcats closed out freshman Sahm Irvine and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong at No. 1, 6-1.

Senior David Higgins, earning just his third dual-match appearance, and junior Marius Ruh, were in fact down 4-2 and 0-30 midway through Quinnipiac's service game. The Tritons' No. 3 duo went on to achieve the service break, and ultimately notched a 7-5 decision to turn everyone's attention to the No. 2 court.

The No. 2 tandem of redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and senior Richard Han knotted their tilt at 4-4 after that 4-1 deficit, breaking service to level matters as Quinnipiac went into the net with the return after a strong forehand by Ermert. The Bobcats broke back to regain a 5-4 edge, and the Tritons again did the same for 5-5. Both sides stayed on serve for the tiebreak, 6-6.

Ermert and Han went up 3-1 to start that tiebreak, before two straight Bobcat points tied it once more. Quinnipiac double-faulted to give the hosts a 4-3 edge. The Tritons won the next two points thanks to strong Ermert serves, with the returns going wide and long, respectively, to push it to match point. The Bobcats likewise won their two points on service, leaving UC San Diego still with one more match point at 6-5, which it converted as Ermert produced a hard, close-range volley.

In singles, Ruh (6-2, 6-1) won quickly at No. 4 over Hielke Moore for a 2-0 lead, before the Bobcats gained their only point of the afternoon, at No. 6 through Austin Yannone's 6-2, 6-4, win over fourth-year senior Riku Hashiyada. Having dropped his first set, Han came back to knock off Patrick Cachapero at No. 5, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Tengbumroong did the honors for the clincher, outlasting freshman Aleksa Martinovic in a second-set tiebreak, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). His forehand winner landed just inside the line on match point to cap off what had become a contentious affair late.

The remaining matches were still played out, with Irvine completing a rally of his own to win in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, at No. 1 over Freddie Zaretsky. The Rancho Palos Verdes native had trailed 3-0 and 4-1 in the opening frame.

Finally on the No. 3 court, Ermert got a much-needed victory over freshman Alester Magalit, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. The local product used his big serve all day and was able to turn his fortunes around following six straight singles defeats, with five of them at No. 4, since a straight-set success at No. 4 at city rival Point Loma back on Feb. 22.

Higgins' doubles result marked his first career dual-match victory, as a third-year walk-on to the UC San Diego program. He had also played at No. 3 doubles with Irvine in this year's opener at San Diego State on Feb. 1, and with Ruh against Hawai'i Pacific in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, on Feb. 16. The Tritons were without juniors Marc Isaia and Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS).

UC San Diego now has winter quarter final exams, March 16-23. The Tritons conclude their season-long nine-match homestand afterward, hosting seventh-ranked Division II West Region foe Hawai'i Hilo on Saturday, March 30, at 12 p.m., and Division I Eastern Washington on Sunday, March 31, at 10 a.m.

UC San Diego 6, Quinnipiac 1
March 13, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Aleksa Martinovic/Austin Yannone (QU) def. Sahm Irvine/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-1
2. Zach Ermert/Richard Han (UCSD) def. Hielke Moore/Axel Stern (QU) 7-6 (7-5)
3. David Higgins/Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Patrick Cachapero/Alester Magalit (QU) 7-5

Singles competition
1. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) def. Freddie Zaretsky (QU) 7-5, 6-3
2. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Aleksa Martinovic (QU) 6-3, 7-6 (8-6)
3. Zach Ermert (UCSD) def. Alester Magalit (QU) 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
4. Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Hielke Moore (QU) 6-2, 6-1
5. Richard Han (UCSD) def. Patrick Cachapero (QU) 2-6, 6-1, 6-3
6. Austin Yannone (QU) def. Riku Hashiyada (UCSD) 6-2, 6-4

Match Notes
Quinnipiac 4-8
UC San Diego 5-8; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (4,6,5,2,1,3)
T-2:45 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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