Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong was an easy winner in his debut in the top singles position Wednesday.

Tritons Sweep the Points for Second Straight Day at Truman State to Complete Perfect Trip

UC San Diego

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team needed less than two hours to race past Truman State University, 7-0, Wednesday at the Truman Tennis Courts.

With a season-best third straight win, UC San Diego moved to 7-8. Truman State fell to 0-8. The teams had likely never met before, with Truman State the alma mater of seventh-year Triton head coach Timmer Willing, a 1993 graduate of the school.

The match wrapped up a quick, recently-added Spring Break trip to the Midwest for UC San Diego, which blanked a pair of fellow NCAA Division II foes in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) rivals Quincy (IL) and Truman State on successive days.

The Tritons dropped just six games in doubles and a remarkable 12 over the six singles tilts they swept.

In doubles to begin the day, junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and sophomore partner Neil Tengbumroong won quickly at No. 1, with senior David Higgins and junior Marius Ruh posting an identical 6-1 victory at No. 3.

Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and senior Richard Han completed the doubles sweep, 6-4, a third consecutive triumph for the pair.

In the absences of freshman Sahm Irvine and junior Marc Isaia, Tengbumroong made his debut at the No. 1 singles position, and won 6-2, 6-0, over Griffin Turnage.

That was after Han and Higgins had already breezed over their respective opponents at No. 5 and No. 6, both without surrendering a single game, 6-0, 6-0. Manoharan's 6-2, 6-1, decision at No. 3 over Alec Jarvis clinched the result. Ruh was fourth off the court, at No. 4, 6-0, 6-1, ahead of Tengbumroong. For the third match in a row, Ermert's was the last singles contest to finish, as he won, 6-4, 6-2, at No. 2.

"Truman competed very hard and were good guys with great character," said Willing. "I feel it was an extremely difficult situation for them. Competing against an alum and prior coach, their previous head coach was also in attendance, not to mention the athletics director who came to welcome me back. On top of that, they are fighting to save a program in jeopardy which could be in its last season. They were battling more than just the competition on the court, amongst all the other distractions. So in my mind, it was more a bitter than a sweet victory. I only wish the best for the student-athletes and am hopeful they can continue the program. I will spend some time in the offseason trying to see what I can do to help."

For Higgins, it was a successful collegiate singles debut, having earlier made the doubles lineup for just the fourth time, all coming this year, now with a 2-2 mark.

As the lineup shifted without Irvine and Isaia, Ermert and Manoharan were as high as No. 2 and No. 3 for the first time in their careers. Ruh played at No. 4 for the first time in 2019, and first since going 1-3 there his freshman year in 2017.

UC San Diego returns home Thursday evening, and continues a busy five-matches-in-seven-days stretch at home against No. 21 Hawai'i Hilo this Saturday, March 30, at 12 p.m. Parking and admission are free at Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla. The match will be another critical regional test for the Tritons.

UC San Diego 7, Truman State 0
March 27, 2019 at Kirksville, MO (Truman Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Sreeganesh Manoharan/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Nick Thiele/Griffin Turnage (TSU) 6-1
2. Zach Ermert/Richard Han (UCSD) def. Grant Burton/Matt Thiele (TSU) 6-4
3. David Higgins/Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Chase Klosener/Alec Jarvis (TSU) 6-1

Singles competition
1. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Griffin Turnage (TSU) 6-2, 6-0
2. Zach Ermert (UCSD) def. Nick Thiele (TSU) 6-4, 6-2
3. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Alec Jarvis (TSU) 6-2, 6-1
4. Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. Matt Thiele (TSU) 6-0, 6-1
5. Richard Han (UCSD) def. Grant Burton (TSU) 6-0, 6-0
6. David Higgins (UCSD) def. Chase Klosener (TSU) 6-0, 6-0

Match Notes
UC San Diego 7-8; Regional ranking #4
Truman State 0-8
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (5,6,3,4,1,2)
T-1:40 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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