UC San Diego Starts Dual Season With Division I Road Pair; Home Opener Feb. 8 vs. No. 13 Azusa Pacific
The University of California San Diego men's tennis program officially gets its 2018-19 campaign under way on the road this weekend with two dual matches at NCAA Division I squads. The Tritons (0-0) are up at future Big West Conference opponent UC Irvine (0-2) at noon this Saturday, Feb. 2, and across town at Mountain West member San Diego State (1-1) on Sunday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. Admission is free into both, but parking permits are required at least for Sunday's date with the Aztecs. Rain is expected in the area throughout the weekend, so please check back here at UCSDtritons.com, or at our official Twitter handle (@UCSDtritons), for any updates.
UC San Diego will then host No. 13 Azusa Pacific (0-0) on Friday, Feb. 8, before making the short trip to another fierce Division II West Region rival in city foe Point Loma (0-0) on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Those two start times are an identical 3:30 p.m. Parking and admission at Point Loma are both free, with live video streaming available for a fee of $8.95.
HOME MATCH POLICIES
Admission into all regular-season contests at Northview Tennis Courts is free, but parking is only free on weekends. Parking permits on weekdays can be purchased at machines located in all lots. Fans are encouraged to arrive early on Friday, Feb. 8, as parking could be impacted at that time with classes in session. Parking options include the large oval separating Northview Tennis Courts and Triton Track & Field Stadium, the lot behind the Triton Soccer Stadium stands, or if both areas are full, the Hopkins Parking Structure behind RIMAC.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
UC Irvine (0-2) and San Diego State (1-1) have opened their seasons already, with UCI in fact suffering a narrow 4-3 loss at SDSU last Saturday. UC San Diego dropped 4-0 decisions at UC Irvine in each of the past two seasons, with last year's meeting being played as an exhibition. The Tritons last met the Aztecs in a road exhibition on Jan. 17, 2015, losing 6-1. Azusa Pacific and Point Loma, like UC San Diego, look to kick off the new campaign this weekend. APU ended the Tritons' season in each of the last two years, in the opening round of the NCAA Championships. UC San Diego fell three times to the Cougars in 2018, and have dropped four straight overall in that rivalry. Point Loma has three dates scheduled before entertaining the Tritons on Feb. 13, including APU at home on Feb. 9. The teams split the 2018 season series, each side winning at home. UC San Diego will still host Point Loma on Senior Day and then conclude the regular season at APU in April.
UC SAN DIEGO LINEUP
UC San Diego has eight returners and two true freshmen making up its 2018-19 roster. Richard Han, Riku Hashiyada and David Higgins make up this year's senior class. They are joined by juniors Marc Isaia, Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) and Marius Ruh, sophomore Neil Tengbumroong and redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS). The rookies are Sahm Irvine and Peter Stratton (San Diego/Del Norte HS). Isaia was the primary No. 3 in singles in 2018, with Han, Tengbumroong, Ruh and Manoharan seeing action at Nos. 4-6. The Tritons will have to make up for the losses of graduated seniors Eric Tseng and Justin Zhang, their No. 1 and No. 2 singles players a year ago, as well as UC San Diego's No. 2 doubles tandem. Tseng is now a volunteer assistant coach. The team's No. 1 duo of Isaia and Manoharan (9-7) returns, with Tengbumroong, Han and Ruh combining for 25 doubles appearances, mostly at No. 3.
UC San Diego is rated No. 4 in the season's first Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll, released on Jan. 16. Upcoming opponents APU and Point Loma are at No. 2 and No. 7, respectively. The Tritons will face off with each of the other seven teams in the top eight, for a total of 12 matches in 2019. In the individual regional listing back on Nov. 14, junior Marc Isaia was No. 15 and freshman Sahm Irvine No. 20 in singles. For doubles, junior Sreeganesh Manoharan and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong were No. 9, with seniors Richard Han and David Higgins at No. 10 in the West.
HEAD COACH TIMMER WILLING
Timmer Willing enters his seventh season in charge of the UC San Diego men's tennis program. With a dual-match record of 74-60, he has guided the Tritons to three consecutive NCAA Division II Championship appearances, and five in all over his first six years.
In continuing efforts to better standardize college tennis across all NCAA levels and shorten the length of matches, the Tritons face several changes in 2019. There is no-ad (advantage) scoring in NCAA tennis, meaning the first point after a 40-40 deuce score in singles or doubles, ends that game. Doubles goes to six games and not eight, just like singles. You still have to win by two games, with a tiebreak (to seven, win by two points) coming into play at 6-6. The three doubles matches result in a single point, to whichever team wins two. Contests still begin with doubles, followed by a five-minute break, and then singles.
On Nov. 27, 2017, UC San Diego was officially invited to become a member of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. The Tritons begin a four-year reclassification period starting in the fall of 2020, and will play a full Big West schedule that season. During the transition, UC San Diego will be eligible for the NCAA Championship in men's volleyball, men's and women's water polo, and men's and women's fencing. For the 2024-25 academic year, all sports will be eligible to compete in Big West and NCAA Division I championships. Men's volleyball became an associate member of the Big West for the 2018 season, and women's water polo will join the conference in the spring of 2020. Read the full press release here.
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UC San Diego heads to Hawai'i on Thursday, Feb. 14, for three critical regional tilts. The Tritons will take on Holy Names on Friday, Feb. 15, followed by No. 15 Hawai'i Pacific and No. 10 Hawai'i Hilo that weekend, all at the Holua Tennis Center in Kailua-Kona.
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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For complete coverage and information regarding UC San Diego Athletics, follow the Tritons online at UCSDtritons.com and through social media on Twitter (@UCSDtritons), Instagram (@ucsdtritons) and Facebook (UCSDtritons). For more information on UC San Diego Men's Tennis, follow on Instagram (@ucsdmenstennis).