Veteran Men’s Tennis Team Starts Strong

The UC Irvine men’s tennis team had a flourish of matches two weeks ago up in Seattle, Washington. They took on Seattle University in its first team matchup of the year. Irvine took the match with a 5-2 win, which saw them sweep all the doubles matches. Sophomore Steven Henderson and junior Khunpol Issara defeated Mark Shkretbtan and Simon Meske 8-2 in the No. 1 match. In singles, sophomore Fabian Matthews defeated Alex Montgomery 6-3, 6-2 in the No. 1 match. Henderson defeated Meske 6-3, 6-1 in No. 3 singles.

On the next day, Jan. 22, UCI improved its record to 2-0 by defeating University of Portland 4-3 in non-conference play. After losing two of three of the doubles matches, Irvine was forced to overcome the 1-0 deficit. It did just that as the Anteaters won four of the six single matches to earn the victory. Sophomore Sam Gould clinched the win for the ’Eaters with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Bryan Thorp in the No. 2 singles match.

UCI was unable to start the season 3-0 because of a loss suffered to No. 26 ranked Washington on Jan. 23. The Huskies won all three doubles matches to take a 1-0 lead. Washington then proceeded to win five of the six singles matches. Senior Shimpei Suzuki defeated Martin Kildahl 6-4, 1-6, 10-7 in the No. 3 match for UCI’s lone point of the day.

On Sunday, Jan. 31, UCI won their home opener by defeating the University of San Francisco 4-3. Gould, Zac Tsai, and Isarra picked up wins in their respective singles match-ups, while the doubles tandems of Gould/Henderson and Suzuki/Jon Kazarian won their matches.

The team is anchored by seniors Shimpei Suzuki, Douglass Taylor, and Zac Tsai. Juniors include Gautam Vaidyanathan, Stephen Stege, and Khunpol Issara. The team is flooded with talented sophomores like Sam Gould, Steven Henderson, Ryan Mayer, Fabian Matthews, and Jon Kazarian. Australian Nick Northcott is the lone freshman.

So far this year, the doubles team of sophomore Sam Gould and Steven Henderson is ranked 10th in the Southwest region. Some of the top returners from last year include Matthews, who led the team with a 18-6 record in singles during dual match season in 2009. The doubles team of Vaidyanathan and Henderson was 15-7 in doubles to lead the team. Eight of the returning players on the roster earned All-Big West honors in 2009 including first team honors in singles for Henderson and Matthews. Suzuki received the first honors of 2010 by earning Big West Athlete of the Week for his strong play on the opening road trip.

The UC Irvine men’s tennis team is led by Head Coach Trevor Kronemann. Coach Kronemann is in his fourth season leading the Anteaters. In his first three seasons at UCI, Kronemann has led UCI to a 34-42 record overall and guided former ’Eater Victor Lamm to the NCAA Singles Tournament in 2008.

UCI will look to continue their success against No. 1 USC in Los Angeles on Feb 2 at 1:30 p.m. The Anteaters will not return to Anteater Tennis Stadium until Feb. 14, when they take on UC Santa Barbara.