ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. - The UC San Diego men's tennis team was ousted from the NCAA Championship Wednesday, suffering a hard-fought 5-2 loss against Midwestern State in the first round at Sanlando Park outside of Orlando.
UCSD, ranked 13th nationally, closed its 2014 season with a 15-10 record. No. 17 MSU improved to 19-6 with its sixth consecutive victory. The Mustangs advanced to the Elite Eight and will take on West Florida, the top-ranked team in the country, Thursday.
With the score tied 1-1 after the teams split the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches, Midwestern took a 2-1 advantage with a grueling victory at No. 3. Down 7-5 against Jarrod Liston and Zack Santagate, the Triton duo of Rajeev Herekar and Mark Meyer battled back and eventually evened the score at 8-8. However, Liston and Santagate rolled to a 7-3 tiebreaker win.
MSU got out to a 1-0 lead after Kacper Boborykin and Kyle Davidson defeated Alexandre Miaule and Horea Porutiu, 8-2, at the No. 2 doubles spot. UCSD tied it up as Max Jiganti and Kona Luu earned an 8-4 triumph against Tomas Grejtak and Ramon Toyos in the top slot. Grejtak and Toyos are the 11th-ranked doubles team in the nation.
"It was a battle at No. 3 doubles and both teams knew that whoever got it had the best chance of winning the match," said UCSD head coach Timmer Willing. "In the tiebreaker, Midwestern State made their serves, made returns and played the big points really well."
Moving on to singles play, the Mustangs pushed their lead to 3-1 as Toyos beat Ganesh Alagappan in straight sets, 6-1 and 6-0, at No. 3.
At No. 4, Liston went up against Luu, taking the opening set by a score of 6-2. Luu came back to win the second frame, 6-4, but Liston ran away with a 6-1 win in set three to put the Mustangs up 4-1.
The Tritons scored their second and final point of the day with a victory at No. 5 as Porutiu dispatched Christopher Norrie in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5) and 6-4.
The clincher for MSU came at No. 2. Herekar won the first set, 6-4, against Davidson, ranked 43rd nationally in singles play. Davidson returned strong, winning the next two frames by scores of 6-4 and 6-1 to give the match to the Mustangs.
The other two singles matches went unfinished after the winning fifth point was scored. No. 38 Jiganti was up on No. 27 Boborykin at No. 1 (6-3, 3-6, 4-1), while Meyer and Grejtak were tied (3-6, 7-5) at No. 6.
"Singles was just a physical grind on every single court," said Willing. "We were down 3-1 and just kept fighting and battling. We would get down, come back and both teams were very evenly-matched. They just had a little extra than we did and when you have that situation, they're going to be able to put pressure on you in key situations. They were able to get control of the big winning points."
The match began four hours late due to rain and lightning in the area.
"We certainly can't hang our heads, we competed really hard," said Willing. "It was an energetic, loud match and it was great to be a part of."
UCSD has qualified for NCAA postseason play in 13 of the last 14 years, missing out just once (2012) since the school moved to Division II status prior to the team's 2001 campaign.
#17 Midwestern State 5, #13 UC San Diego 2
May 14, 2014 at Altamonte Springs, Fla.
1. #27 Kacper Boborykin (MSU) vs. #38 Max Jiganti (UCSD) 3-6, 6-3, 1-4, unfinished
2. #43 Kyle Davidson (MSU) def. Rajeev Herekar (UCSD) 4-6, 6-4, 6-1
3. Ramon Toyos (MSU) def. Ganesh Alagappan (UCSD) 6-1, 6-0
4. Jarrod Liston (MSU) def. Kona Luu (UCSD) 6-2, 4-6, 6-1
5. Horea Porutiu (UCSD) def. Christopher Norrie (MSU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
6. Tomas Grejtak (MSU) vs. Mark Meyer (UCSD) 6-3, 5-7, unfinished
1. Max Jiganti/Kona Luu (UCSD) def. #11 Tomas Grejtak/Ramon Toyos (MSU) 8-4
2. Kacper Boborykin/Kyle Davidson (MSU) def. Horea Porutiu/Alexandre Miaule (UCSD) 8-2
3. Jarrod Liston/Zack Santagate (MSU) def. Rajeev Herekar/Mark Meyer (UCSD) 9-8 (7-3)
UC San Diego 15-10; National ranking #13
Midwestern State 19-6; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (3,4,5,2)
NCAA Division II Championship Round of 16