Tough Losses lead UCI to 1-3 record
UCLA 7, UCI 0
The UC Irvine ’Eaters tried to put up a good fight in their first game of the season, only to get swept 7-0 by No. 9-ranked UCLA on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The Bruins took the point from doubles after taking two of three matches, but their victories did not come easily. The freshmen pair Jacob Jung and Shuhei Shibahara fought hard in their 8-5 loss as they made multiple lead changes before their opponents pulled the game away from their reach.
No. 1 pair sophomore Ryan Cheung and senior Fabian Matthews didn’t fare better as an 8-4 loss gave UCLA the doubles match. Seniors Sam Gould and Jon Kazarian managed to win their doubles match in a tough 8-6 battle, which turned to be nothing but a moral victory.
Singles turned out to be a gritty affair for UCI, but the Anteaters failed to produce any wins. Kazarian went up against Adrien Puget, ranked no. 94 in the nation, only to show some fight in the second set as he lost 6-1 and 6-4. Cheung dropped his first set 6-2, but took an early 2-1 lead in the second set. Unfortunately, he failed to capitalize as he lost 6-2 again. Jung’s 6-1 and 6-2 losses sealed the match for UCLA who went on to sweep.
UCI 6, UNLV 1
The first victory did not come easy as UC Irvine gritted through many battles to beat University of Nevada, Las Vegas 6-1. The Anteaters hosted the Rebels on Thursday, Jan. 26 at Anteater Tennis Stadium for their first home game of the season, but the home court advantage did not help them in the start.
No. 1 doubles pair sophomore Ryan Cheung and senior Fabian Matthews were down 5-0 and seemed far from taking the set. However, they went on an eight-set surge to win their match 8-5. Freshmen pair Jacob Jung and Shuhei Shibahara fought hard to pull out an 8-6 victory to give UCI their first point.
Like doubles, the singles competition did not begin favorably for UCI. Cheung took a 6-2, 6-3 loss to allow UNLV to tie the game 1-1. However, that was as close the Rebels would get to take the lead. Matthews, Kazarian, and freshman Mike DeCoster won their matches to seal the match for UCI.
FSU 4, UCI 0
UC Irvine went to Los Angeles on Saturday, Jan. 28 to face off against Fresno State University, only to lose under circumstances 4-0.
The Bulldogs took charge in the doubles matches, taking down No. 1 pair sophomore Ryan Cheung and senior Fabian Matthews 8-6 in a close match. Seniors Sam Gould and Jon Kazarian failed to hold on and gave FSU the doubles point after losing 8-6. Freshmen Jacob Jung and Shuhei Shibahara left their match unfinished while they were behind 7-6.
Gould gave his opponent a tough match in the singles competition, but he lost his first set after pushing his matchup to the seventh point, falling 7-5. The second set wasn’t close as Gould lost 6-3. Cheung managed to take the first set, winning 7-5 in a tough battle, but lost 6-1 in the second set. Cheung failed to hang on as he lost the third set 6-3. The Bulldogs took the victory after Davwid Ayoun defeated Shibahara 6-2 and 6-3.
Alabama 4, UCI 1
The UC Irvine men’s tennis have yet earned their first road victory this season after losing to University of Alabama on Sunday, Jan. 29 at Los Angeles Tennis Center. The loss give them a 0-3 road record and puts them 1-3 overall.
The Crimson Tide controlled the doubles matches, taking the point after defeating no. 1 pair Ryan Cheung and Fabian Matthews and freshmen duo Jacob Jung and Shuhei Shibahara.
The Anteaters did not fare well at singles either. Fabian Matthews put up a good battle in the first set, but failed to come away with a win. Kazarian managed to help UCI get their first point after winning 6-3, 6-4. Unfortunately Shibahara and Gould failed to keep Irvine’s chances alive as their losses allowed the Crimson Tide to come away with the win.