UC San Diego Continues Season-Long Homestand
The University of California San Diego men's tennis team continues what just this week became a season-long 10-match homestand, through the middle of March and up until winter quarter final exams. The Tritons (3-5) are in the process of adding a March 2 date with Division I Saint Mary's (1-5), weather permitting, to further extend that run at home. This next stretch begins Thursday, Feb. 28, at 9 a.m. against Villanova (7-2) at Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla.
In and around three home contests over the next five days, UC San Diego will have several pairs entered into the 130th edition of the Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championship, held once again at the nearby La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Click here to navigate to the draws and latest results. The Triton tandems were not yet known at press time. Admission is free, though there is a $10 per-day fee to park.
UC San Diego later takes on a pair of nationally-ranked Division II foes in No. 16 Hawai'i Pacific (2-0) on Thursday, March 7, at 12 p.m., and No. 4 West Florida (5-0) on Sunday, March 10, at 10 a.m. The Sharks and Argonauts were the Division II national champions in 2016 and 2017, respectively. It was a fourth crown for UWF. The other four opponents through March 13 are all Division I sides.
UC San Diego went 3-4 during its just-concluded gauntlet of playing the other seven teams from the preseason edition of the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division II West Region poll, in succession. The Tritons are coming off their first home victory of 2019, 4-3 over Concordia Irvine on Monday, Feb. 25. They are 1-2 in La Jolla.
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
UC San Diego has already played Hawai'i Pacific once this season, falling 5-2 in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, in the Sharks' opener. The Tritons had taken both matchups with HPU last year (both 6-3), once each in Kona and La Jolla. Of the upcoming quartet of Division I opponents, UC San Diego knocked off Villanova at home last March 1, 6-1, also on the first day of the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship. The Tritons defeated the Wildcats at home in 2017 (4-3), 2016 (7-0) and 2015 (8-1), and at least seven straight times in all, in La Jolla every time. UC San Diego last met West Florida in 2017, dropping an 8-1 decision in Pensacola, Fla., to the top-ranked eventual national champion Argonauts. The Tritons hosted the Argos most recently in 2015, losing 9-0. UC San Diego has not faced Saint Mary's, Ball State or Quinnipiac at least going back through the 2006 dual-match season, and probably ever before.
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 form 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 made his college debut in the opener at San Diego State (2/1), and has mostly been at No. 2 singles thus far to begin his college career. He moved up to the No. 1 position in a key 4-3 victory over Concordia (2/25), winning easily, 6-1, 6-1. Tengbumroong has gone 4-3, with wins at No. 3 and No. 4. Ermert, who also made his debut at SDSU, has likewise appeared in both spots, with mostly Manoharan (4-2), Ruh (2-0) and Han at the back end. Ermert and Manoharan are playing at No. 1 in doubles, with Isaia and Tengbumroong at No. 2. Han, Higgins, Irvine and Ruh have appeared at No. 3 doubles.
Stratton earned his college debut against Concordia and teamed with Tengbumroong on a 7-5 success at No. 2 doubles, before falling at No. 6 singles. In that same match, Hashiyada drew his first appearance since his freshman year in 2016, and made the move pay off with a straight-set triumph at No. 5 singles.
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 opponent Hawai'i Pacific is No. 3. The Tritons already played each of the other seven teams in the West's top eight, in succession, and went 3-4. 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.
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 77-65, 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, 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.
For the latest in Triton athletic gear, make sure to visit ucsdtritonsgear.com. Run by UC San Diego Athletics' online partner Advanced-Online, the site provides an on-demand option for Triton athletic apparel and merchandise. Fans have access to over 600 products that can be processed and shipped within 24 hours.
FOR THE YOUNGER CROWD
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Following a break for winter quarter final exams, UC San Diego concludes this season-long 10-match homestand against No. 7 Hawai'i Hilo on March 30 and Division I Eastern Washington the following morning.
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).