The UC Irvine Men’s Tennis team (3-4) swept the UC Riverside Highlanders on Feb. 13, winning every doubles and singles set for a final score of 7-0.
Entering Anteater Stadium to play their last home game before three on the road, the Anteaters were not deterred from winning the two-hour game.
In doubles, seniors Brian Morton and Ryusuke Kashiwabara defeated sophomore Mark Contreras and freshman Christian Frick with a score of 8-5 on court one.
Morton’s strong returns cut through UCR’s game while Kashiwabara pushed at the net.
UCI’s junior Peter Surapol and freshman Victor Lamm followed through on court two, winning 8-5 over sophomore Justin Montgomery and freshman Phil Gegenheimer.
UCI sophomores Mustafa Ulukan and Aaron Ellis finished up their set 8-6 on court three against UCR’s freshman Joe Cartledge and junior Jordan Leo. UCI’s Morton started off on court one for singles, punishing Montgomery 6-1, 6-2 with what UCI Head Coach Steve Clark described as an ‘almost a perfect game.’
Kashiwabara continued to dominate on court two while maintaining control of his opponent with a victory against UCR’s Cartledge, 6-2, 6-1.
‘During doubles I wasn’t making my first serves,’ Kashiwabara said. ‘[In singles] today, I played pretty aggressively.’
Over on court five, Anteater Ulukan defeated Leo also in two sets with 6-2, 7-5.
UCI did not lose pace at all as they finished up on court four and Surapol took out Frick, 6-4, 6-3, pummeling away at everything UCR could return.
Despite the win, Surapol thought he was not playing at his full game.
‘I played doubles well,’ Surapol said. ‘I was more energetic. [On] singles, I was tired.’
On court three, UCI’s Lamm earned UCI a singles point by winning 6-4, 7-6 (9) in a close match against Contreras. Superior serves and persistence won Lamm the point.
Junior Anteater Olof Sjolund finished the game on court six by taking out Gegenheimer 6-1, 6-2.
‘We had one of our better matches singles wise today,’ Clark said. ‘We’re playing better tennis … [and] definitely making progress.’
Morton agreed that the team did well.
‘We played well … had a good warm up,’ Morton said. ‘It’s been good. This is a conference rival. Every time you beat one it gives you a little more confidence going into the tournament.’
Clark thought the training had benefited the team’s play as well.
‘We’ve seen enough videos,’ he said. ‘The guys are starting to understand what they need to work on. … Some of the guys did what they had to do and others learned what they need to do.’
Kashiwabara looked toward their goal of winning at the Big West Conference.
‘The most important thing is to play our best tennis in the conference,’ Kashiwabara said.