Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong rallied from a first-set defeat to win at No. 3 singles.

UC San Diego Edged 4-3 by Villanova

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. - The doubles point was ultimately the difference as the University of California San Diego men's tennis team relinquished a narrow 4-3 decision to visiting Villanova University Thursday morning at Northview Tennis Courts.

UC San Diego dropped to 3-6, while Villanova improved to 8-2. It is likely the first time the Wildcats have ever beaten the Tritons, who had taken seven prior victories, all in La Jolla, in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Villanova was playing the first of five matches on its Spring Break trip to Southern California.

The Tritons dropped all three doubles contests to give the visitors the early 1-0 edge heading into singles. Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and junior Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines HS) fell 6-3 at No. 1, followed by freshman Peter Stratton (San Diego/Del Norte HS) and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong at No. 3, 6-4. Juniors Marc Isaia and Marius Ruh still completed their contest at No. 2, but lost in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-0).

UC San Diego won two of the first three singles tilts to level the score at 2-2. After freshman Sahm Irvine lost 6-1, 6-2, at No. 2 to Tyler Roth, Manoharan dispatched Charlie Schuls at No. 5, 6-3, 6-3, and Isaia got a much-needed victory at No. 1 after a one-match absence, 6-3, 6-4, over Stefan Suarez. Up 40-30, the Triton captain delivered a big forehand into the back left corner to cap a long rally on match point.

Villanova then retook the lead as Ruh was unable to complete his comeback attempt from a first-set deficit at No. 6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, against Tommy Mulflur.

On the No. 4 court, Ermert suffered a pair of tough tiebreak defeats to Dylan Flanagan, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3). In the latter one, he cut a 3-0 deficit down to 3-2, but Flanagan came up with two big serves back-to-back, the first an ace, to win the next two points and take command again at 5-2, before closing it out for the clinch.

Tengbumroong and Thomas Dodson at No. 3 had already started their third set by then, and they were allowed to finish, as the Triton from West Covina rallied from a one-set deficit to earn a solid victory in a close affair, 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4. In that initial set, Tengbumroong broke Dodson's serve to make it 6-6 and force the tiebreak. He then did very well to wipe out an imposing 6-1 tiebreak deficit entirely and knot the score at 6-6. A double fault gave Dodson set point, however, and he took it moments later.

In the second set, Tengbumroong led 5-2. This time, it was Dodson who rallied for the tie at 5-5. Tengbumroong immediately broke his service to retake a 6-5 lead. Dodson hit into the net to end a long rally on set point.

The Tritons are hoping to continue a season-long 10-match homestand against another Division I foe in Saint Mary's this Saturday, March 2, at 3 p.m., though rain is in the forecast. The date was just added to the UC San Diego schedule this week. Parking and admission are free at Northview Tennis Courts on North Campus in La Jolla. The Tritons are also participating in the 130th Annual Pacific Coast Doubles Championship at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Friday through Sunday.

Villanova 4, UC San Diego 3
Feb. 28, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Thomas Dodson/Tyler Roth (NOVA) def. Zach Ermert/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 6-3
2. Tommy Mulflur/Stefan Suarez (NOVA) def. Marc Isaia/Marius Ruh (UCSD) 7-6 (7-0)
3. Dylan Flanagan/Charlie Schuls (NOVA) def. Peter Stratton/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) 6-4

Singles competition
1. Marc Isaia (UCSD) def. Stefan Suarez (NOVA) 6-3, 6-4
2. Tyler Roth (NOVA) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-1, 6-2
3. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. Thomas Dodson (NOVA) 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4
4. Dylan Flanagan (NOVA) def. Zach Ermert (UCSD) 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-3)
5. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. Charlie Schuls (NOVA) 6-3, 6-3
6. Tommy Mulflur (NOVA) def. Marius Ruh (UCSD) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3

Match Notes
Villanova 8-2
UC San Diego 3-6; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,5,1,6,4,3)
T-3:13 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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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).

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