UC San Diego on the Big Island for Critical Trio This Weekend
The University of California San Diego men's tennis team made it through a long day of travel to Hawai'i on Thursday, Feb. 14, which was delayed considerably before it even left San Diego. The Tritons (0-2) are on the Big Island of Hawai'i for three critical NCAA Division II West Region tilts this weekend. They will play at the Holua Tennis Center in Kailua-Kona, looking for their first win of the 2019 dual campaign against Holy Names (0-0) on Friday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. PT (2 p.m. HT).
UC San Diego then takes on a pair of nationally-ranked foes in No. 15 Hawai'i Pacific (0-0) on Saturday at 5 p.m. PT (3 p.m. HT) and No. 10 Hawai'i Hilo (0-0) on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. PT (2:30 p.m. HT). Hawai'i Hilo is located on the opposite end of the island, so the first two matches are neutral-site contests, and the meeting with the Vulcans is considered a road date.
The Tritons will spend Monday in Hawai'i and return late that night, arriving back in San Diego early Tuesday morning. They face three more key West Region opponents before the month is up. That stretch begins on the road at city rival Point Loma (0-0) in a makeup match on Friday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 p.m. That one was originally scheduled for last Wednesday, Feb. 13, but postponed by weather. Parking and admission are both free at Point Loma, with live video streaming available for a fee of $8.95. Coming off that trip, UC San Diego begins a season-long nine-match homestand against Sonoma State on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m., and Concordia Irvine on Monday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m.
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. 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
None of this week's opponents in Hawai'i have yet to open their regular seasons. Holy Names and Hawai'i Pacific will do so against the Tritons. Hawai'i Hilo, among the last 16 teams left standing a year ago, first takes on Holy Names on Saturday morning. HNU was supposed to have played twice already, but those matches were wiped out by weather. UC San Diego defeated HNU handily at home last year, 8-1, with the return date in Oakland suspended by rain and not completed. The Tritons lost twice to UHH (Kona and La Jolla) while taking both matchups with HPU (also Kona and La Jolla). UC San Diego and Point Loma split their 2018 season series, each side winning at home. The Tritons will still host the Sharks, Vulcans and Sea Lions in the coming weeks.
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 has moved up from being the primary No. 3 in singles in 2018, to the No. 1 position, following the graduations of Eric Tseng and Justin Zhang, who also made up the No. 2 doubles team. Tseng is now a volunteer assistant coach. Irvine has been in the No. 2 singles slot thus far to begin his college career. Tengbumroong has gone 2-0, with a win each at No. 3 and No. 4. Ermert has likewise appeared in both positions, with Han at No. 5 and Manoharan (1-1) at No. 6. Ermert and Manoharan have played both matches at No. 1 in doubles, with Isaia and Tengbumroong at No. 2. Irvine has played No. 3 with both Higgins and Ruh.
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 Holy Names (No. 8), Hawai'i Pacific (No. 3), Hawai'i Hilo (No. 1), Point Loma (No. 7), Sonoma State (No. 5) and Concordia (No. 6) are all reflected in that poll as the Tritons are in a critical stretch that began with the season-opening loss to Azusa Pacific, where they will play seven straight against the other seven teams in the West's top eight. UC San Diego is scheduled to ultimately face off with those seven sides for 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 is in his seventh season in charge of the UC San Diego men's tennis program. With a dual-match record of 74-62, 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 a couple of changes in 2019. Doubles now 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. An existing manuever is that 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. 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 continues a season-long nine-match homestand through the entirety of the month of March, hosting the likes of Division I teams Villanova, Ball State, Quinnipiac and Eastern Washington, as well as top Division II foes Hawai'i Pacific, West Florida and Hawai'i Hilo. The annual Pacific Coast Doubles Championship runs Feb. 28 through March 3 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.
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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