The UC Irvine Men’s Tennis team had a great start to its weekend with a 5-2 victory against the Pennsylvania Quakers on March 11 at Anteater Tennis Stadium.
The Anteaters closed out the day strong, winning five of their six singles matches though they struggled earlier in doubles.
The doubles tournament started with UCI seniors Brian Morton and Ryusuke Kashiwabara facing off against Pennsylvania’s Anthony Pu and Tas Tobias.
Though Morton and Kashiwabara took a fast loss in their first game, they quickly bounced back claiming games two and three for UCI. The two UCI seniors continued their attack for the next few games and ended with a set of 8-6 in favor of the Anteaters.
UPenn’s Todd Lecher and Brandon O’Gara played UCI junior Peter Surapol and sophomore Aaron Ellis on court three.
At the end of five games the Anteaters had the lead on the Quakes with a 3-2 victory. The hard hits continued until game eight when a small dispute on a call between the umpire and UCI Head Coach Steve Clark gave both teams a little breather.
The dispute died down quickly and the Anteaters were back on the court and claimed game nine. Ellis and Surapol’s match was another that went to 14 games, but ended in Penn’s favor, 8-6.
UCI’s hope for the doubles point relied on sophomore Mustafa Ulukan and freshman Victor Lamm who both displayed incredible spirit by finishing a tiring 16-game match against UPenn’s David Lynn and Mikhail Bekker. Though the two Anteaters played hard throughout the game, the match was won, 9-7, by UPenn along with the doubles point.
‘I expected to win the doubles,’ Clark said after Pennsylvania took the point. ‘We were expecting to beat these guys pretty soundly and we’ll just have to make it up in singles.’
Though Clark was disappointed by the overall doubles performance ,a quick talk with his team before the start of the singles tournament was enough to get the Anteaters to step up. On the number one court Morton quickly took a three-game lead against Mikhail Bekker. Morton was able to keep Bekker on his toes throughout the game and claimed a 6-1 victory. The second set also went to Morton in a 6-1 victory. Though Morton claimed there were a few bad calls made throughout the second match, the victory nullified the need for a third set and declared the match in his favor.
‘It happens,’ said Morton when asked about the line calls. ‘You’ve got guys here from Europe and apparently they do things a little differently over there