Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Junior Marius Ruh's come-from-behind, three-set victory accounted for the decisive point Sunday.

Tritons Edge Division I Eastern Washington, 4-3, Ahead of Monday's Critical Tilt in Irvine

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego men's tennis team swept doubles play and did just enough in singles to edge Division I Eastern Washington University, 4-3, Sunday at Northview Tennis Courts.

UC San Diego improved to 8-9, including 4-6 at home and 3-2 with three straight successes against Division I opposition. Eastern Washington fell to 3-11. It was probably the first-ever meeting between the programs.

The Tritons moved to 3-1 during this busy stretch of five matches in seven days, which concludes with a return showdown with Division II West Region foe Concordia in a match with heavy postseason implications in Irvine on Monday, April 1, at 1 p.m. UC San Diego won the home meeting, 4-3, back on Feb. 25.

UC San Diego had virtually no trouble in doubles, sweeping the three tilts in about half an hour. Redshirt freshman Zach Ermert (Carlsbad/La Costa Canyon HS) and senior Richard Han were 6-2 winners at No. 3, followed by junior Marius Ruh and sophomore Neil Tengbumroong at No. 2, 6-3. Juniors Marc Isaia and Sreeganesh Manoharan (San Diego/Torrey Pines) wrapped up the sweep at No. 1, 6-3.

Singles was much more competitive and lengthy, and ultimately split evenly at three apiece to leave the doubles point as the decisive margin.

Han breezed past Jan Lajos at No. 6 without surrendering a single game, 6-0, 6-0. Tengbumroong made it 3-0 in favor of the hosts with a straight-set win of his own at No. 3, 6-4, 6-4, over Manuel Balce. It marked a team-best 10th singles triumph for the West Covina product, now at 10-5 overall and 6-4 at the No. 3 spot.

That's when the Eagles began their fightback. Martin Bats downed Manoharan in two close frames at No. 4, 7-5, 6-4, marking just the fourth singles loss for the Triton. Isaia, back at the No. 1 singles position for the first time since March 4, suffered a narrow three-set defeat to Jeremy Field, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

Ruh then finally put the result out of doubt with a come-from-behind, three-set win at No. 5 over Jeremy Mueller, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-3. Freshman Sahm Irvine was the last to finish at No. 2, falling in three sets to Mikayel Khachatryan, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5.

Ruh and Han are both winners of four in a row in singles.

UC San Diego was No. 4 in the Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) West Region poll back in January, with Concordia at No. 6. Four teams from the West qualify for the 2019 NCAA Championship.

UC San Diego 4, Eastern Washington 3
March 31, 2019 at La Jolla, CA (Northview Tennis Courts)

Doubles competition
1. Marc Isaia/Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) def. FIELD, Jeremy/KHACHATRYAN, Mikayel (EWU) 6-3
2. Marius Ruh/Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. BALCE, Manuel/BATS, Martin (EWU) 6-3
3. Zach Ermert/Richard Han (UCSD) def. LAJOS, Jan/MUELLER, Jeremy (EWU) 6-2

Singles competition
1. FIELD, Jeremy (EWU) def. Marc Isaia (UCSD) 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
2. KHACHATRYAN, Mikayel (EWU) def. Sahm Irvine (UCSD) 6-4, 3-6, 7-5
3. Neil Tengbumroong (UCSD) def. BALCE, Manuel (EWU) 6-4, 6-4
4. BATS, Martin (EWU) def. Sreeganesh Manoharan (UCSD) 7-5, 6-4
5. Marius Ruh (UCSD) def. MUELLER, Jeremy (EWU) 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-3
6. Richard Han (UCSD) def. LAJOS, Jan (EWU) 6-0, 6-0

Match Notes
Eastern Washington 3-11
UC San Diego 8-9; Regional ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (6,3,4,1,5,2)
T-3:30 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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