SDSU 4, UCI 3
On Feb. 3, the Anteaters battled the No. 74 San Diego State Aztecs at Anteater Tennis Stadium, but ended up losing 4-3. Both teams battled back and forth, but the Aztecs left Irvine with the win. The loss leaves UCI with a 1-3 record overall this season.
Home court advantage did not seem to take effect; just as many fans of the Aztecs came to show their support as the number of Anteaters.
The battle came down to the very last match between senior Sam Gould and the Aztec’s Derek Siddiqui. Siddiqui took the first set, winning 7-5, but Gould fought back the next set, 6-4. The final set was the home stretch to clench the victory. Gould and Siddiqui took turns attaining the lead, but ultimately, Siddiqui won the tiebreaker 8-6 giving the Aztecs the victory for the decisive point.
“We challenged [San Diego State] to the nth degree,” head coach Trevor Kronemann said. “I know [Gould] felt the weight of the world there with that last match, but it’s a team effort.”
Although the Anteaters have now lost their third match in a row, things did not look drab that Friday afternoon for senior Fabian Matthews. He came away with both points, winning in both doubles with partner Ryan Cheung 8-2 and singles in two straight sets 6-2 and 6-2.
Gould had a different outcome in his doubles match with his partner, senior Jon Kazarian, in an 8-2 victory. Freshmen duo Mika DeCoster and Jacob Jung fell short, losing their match 6-8. Anteaters won the doubles point, but the singles play had different results.
Cheung lost both sets 6-4 and 6-0, giving the Aztecs the lead at 1-1. The Anteaters regained the lead with Matthew’s win against Aztec’s Javier Pulgar. Kazarian and freshman Shuhei Shibahara lost both of their sets, 6-3 and 6-1. Things went differently for Jung as he won his sets 6-4 and 6-2.
“There is no way around anything more than hard work,” Kronemann said. “It’s always tough to tell an 18 to 20 year-old that it’s OK to lose. Today is gone and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Anteaters got the weekend off, but they are now preparing for their next match against UC Santa Barbara on Feb. 20.