Cal 4 UCI 0 (Men’s)
As a confident squad coming from their first conference championship since 2005, the men’s tennis team’s four match postseason win streak was halted by No. 17 UC Berkeley on Saturday morning at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. Senior Captain Zac Tsai humbly entered the contest knowing that his team needed to avoid a Big West Championship hangover.
“One of the reasons why I feel that we won our conference was because we knew that we belonged there,” Tsai said.
“It’s important to go into the NCAA Tournament with the mindset that we are just as good, if not better, than any of these other teams,” Tsai said prior to the loss to Cal.
Cal dominated the match, sweeping the ’Eaters 4-0. The Golden Bears took two of three of the doubles matches, clinching the doubles point. Sophomores Fabian Matthews and Jon Kazarian struggled in the No. 2 match, losing 8-3. Junior Khunpol Issara and sophomore Sam Gould won the doubles match for Irvine (9-7) in the No. 3 match. Irvine’s most reliable doubles team of sophomore Steven Henderson and Tsai fell short of defeating Cal’s No. 1. Tsai and Henderson lost 8-6 to the No. 30 ranked doubles team in the country.
In singles, Issara got the team off to a rough start, losing 6-2, 6-3 in the No. 5 match. Sophomore Ryan Mayer followed with a 6-4, 6-0 defeat in the No. 6 pairing and senior Shimpei Suzuki completed Cal’s sweep when he lost a 6-2, 7-5 match in the No.3 match.
For seniors Douglas Taylor, Tsai and Suzuki, Saturday marked the end to their college careers. However, Tsai expressed his gratitude for one last chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s been a long road for us seniors and we [gave it] our all,” Tsai said.
After recently becoming the second Anteater to receive the International Tennis Association’s Arthur Ashe award for leadership and sportsmanship, Tsai now plans to play professionally on the ATP Tour for the next year.
Irvine proudly finished their 2010 season with a 17-12 record under Big West Coach of the Year, Trevor Kronemann. The team expects to bring back nine of their 12 contributors in the fall, along with a fresh recruiting class.
Ole Miss 4 UCI 0 (Women’s)
On Friday morning, the UC Irvine women’s tennis team was swept 4-0 by Ole Miss in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the Bill Moore Tennis Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ole Miss clinched the doubles point with a pair of 8-4 victories over the No. 3 tandem of freshman April Bisharat and junior Hayley Young and the No. 1 duo of junior Becka Kwan and sophomore Hannah Holladay.
Sophomore Stephanie Hammel was handled by Ole Miss’s Connor Vogel, losing 6-2, 6-0 in the No. 3 match. In No. 5 singles, freshman Kristina Smith was defeated 6-2, 6-2 and Ole Miss clinched the sweep when the Rebels’ Gabby Rangel got the best of Holladay (6-2, 6-3) in the No. 6 match.
The young, seniorless team finished the season at 13-11. With an entire summer to sharpen their skills and build on their Big West Championship performance, expect a more experienced group of Anteaters to return in the fall in hopes of adding to this season’s success.