Tennis Splits Against Former Rivals
Over the weekend, the men’s tennis team took to the road for two away duals against a pair of old Big West rivals. First up were the Gauchos of University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) who the Tigers lost to in the Big West Championship last spring.
However, this match proceeded in similar fashion. The Tigers came out of the gate slow in doubles, giving the Gauchos an early lead. UCSB started off on the offense, putting the Tigers on their back foot early.
The Tigers lost the first set in five of the six singles matches, with their only singles victory coming from Daniel Alameh ‘16 in the second set. Miguel Diaz ‘17 nearly took a win at the fourth set, falling in a third set tiebreaker after coming back and winning the second set. UCSB took the match with a final score of 6-1.
Next up for the Tigers were the Cal Poly Mustangs, who always call for a battle. The Mustangs came out in doubles with a great deal of energy and were very vocal, while the Tigers remained calm, collected and unfazed.
The Tigers began pressing and playing on offensive, which led to a near doubles sweep with Alameh and Marlon Brand clinching at the first set and Alex Hamilton and Diaz winning at the third set. From there, the Tigers headed into singles only needing three of the six matches, which is always tough against the Mustangs.
Alameh, Denis Stolyarov and Diaz all took first sets, while Sem Verbeek, Alex Hamilton and Lance Ngo ‘17 all fell in tight first sets. Diaz was the first Tiger to strike, taking out Garrett Auproux at the fourth set, 6-0, 6-3.
Shortly after, Cal Poly made a surging comeback by winning at the first, fifth and sixth sets, leaving the match in the hands of Stolyarov and Alameh. As Alameh dropped the second set to Ben Donovan ‘17, Stolyarov came back in the second set, defeating Corey Pang in a tiebreaker.
For the second time in a row, the match against Cal Poly was left in the hands of Alameh. Alameh took an early lead in the third set, but Donovan wouldn’t go down without a fight and came charging back, taking it to a third set tiebreaker to decide the match.
With both teams lined up supporting their teammates, Alameh went on to get a 3-0 lead in the tiebreaker and pushed Donovan to his physical limits, giving him muscle cramps. The Aussie freshmen went on taking the match 7-5 in the tiebreaker and clinched the win for the Tigers.
Alameh is having a great first half of the season and is now 6-1 in singles, leading in the two that remained unfinished. This win puts the Tigers at 4-6 on the season.
They will be returning to their home courts this Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m. to take on Youngstown State after the women play at 10 a.m., ending the women’s streak of eight away matches. Be sure to get out and support the Tigers this weekend.