UCSD Makes Waves at Tennis on Campus' Regional Invitational
Over the weekend of Nov. 5-7, UCSD Club Tennis traveled to Phoenix, AZ to compete in the TOC Regional Invitational alongside teams from across the country. While both teams faced a tough pool of opponents on the first day, both went undefeated in their initial round matches. A team winning against Ferris State University (30-4), University of New Mexico-B (30-9), and Washington University (25-15). During these matches, the skill of mixed doubles team Alyson H. and Jamie W. as well as singles players Jax L. and Ethan L. were put on display as they racked up games during all three of the matches. B team also won in their pool against UC Riverside-A (27-23), University of Texas-Austin (20-19), and University of Wyoming. Mixed doubles team Vivian L. and Richard L. dominated their matches against players from UC Riverside and UT Austin- despite Vivian suffering an early match injury against UT Austin. Additionally, singles player Carissa P. reminded spectators of her ability to control points as her opponents could often be seen sprinting across the court to get to the ball.
The second day of the tournament started off with early morning matches against UT Austin for team A and Cal Poly-SLO for team B. For team A, it was a close match, with women's doubles and men's singles narrowly losing to the Longhorns. However, men's doubles players Abhi A. and Ryo K. as well as singles player Sisi L. got the Tritons back into the match with their 6-2 wins. As for team B, Cal Poly SLO took the match in the end, but not without a fight from mixed doubles players Allyson C. and Richard L. who won their initial match 6-4 and fought into overtime in an attempt to secure a win for the team. In the second round of matches Saturday evening, team A found themselves battling for games against Arizona State. While all of these matches had fans sitting on the edge of their seat, Jamie W's men's singles match reminded players that hard work and practice pays off as he won 6-2 against a player who had beaten him 6-1 in his first ever club match in fall of 2019. At the same time team A was fighting against ASU, team B was fighting against Bowling Green State. One match that caught the eye of spectators was men's singles player Matthew P. who battled his way to a 6-5 win by running to every ball and frequently slamming down the line winners. In the end, the team A was able to secure a 25-20 win against ASU, putting them into the Gold Bracket finals, while team B was able to secure a 28-17 win against BGSU, putting them into the silver bracket consolation finals.
The next morning, both teams arrived at the Phoenix Tennis Center to find out coincidentally they were playing against USC-A and USC-B. Team A was locked in and ready to fight for the title as well as a spot at the national competition in spring when they walked onto the court to face the Trojans. Both men's and women's doubles took important, but narrow wins against the Trojans (6-4 and 6-5 respectively). Fans and players alike were glued to the singles matches that highlighted the talent and intensity of Ethan L., Ryo K., Sisi L., and Tanya N. as they all faced seasoned players from USC's team. When mixed doubles took the court as the final match, UCSD was down 15-21 in one of the closest matches between UCSD and USC in years. However, despite a magnificent effort from Jamie W. and Alyson H., USC was able to pull out the win in the end.
Meanwhile, on courts neighboring those where team A was playing, team B was also fighting for a win against USC-B. In men's doubles, Sahil I. and Karthik G. narrowly pulled out a 6-5 win in a tiebreak (5-3) due to their strong point construction and court awareness. Additionally, in men's singles, Raj T. used his physical fitness and court awareness to win his match 6-4. Another highlight of this match was Lizzie V.E. and Mandy L.'s doubles match where both women could be seen having fun and working together to oppose USC at the net.
In the end, the Tritons had a phenomenal first tournament. Watching the improvement in point construction, serves, and overall play of all the players this weekend was something team Captains Alex K., Bre F., and Gautam N. were excited to see, and something they hope to continue working on this year. Additionally, the spirit of the team really came to life during this tournament with members of both teams supporting players during the match and wishing opponents luck in their next rounds. Overall, despite the heartbreaking losses in the finals and the loss of a spot at Nationals, the players showcased to teams across the country that UCSD is a team to watch this year.