After winning two games in a row, the UCS men’s tennis team is ready to take on Oregon at the Rec Cen Courts Sunday at 1 p.m., weather pending.
The Gauchos (2-2 overall) defeated Loyola Marymount 7-0 last Sunday after drama in the doubles matches and key singles-match victories from struggling sophomore Philip Therp and senior Jack Hui. The Gauchos lost to Oregon 5-2 indoors in Eugene last season, but beat the Ducks (5-4) at home during the fall.
“They’re pretty much the same team that beat us last year,” Head Coach Marty Davis said. “On the bright side, we’re playing them at our house instead of indoors. Hopefully we will have a few fans show up in spite of the weather so we can take care of our home court advantage.”
A win on Sunday would improve the Gauchos to 3-2 and put the squad on the path to a winning season record – an experience they sorely missed last season after going 6-18 before winning the Big West Tournament and earning a NCAA tournament bid.
Sophomore Team Captain Josh Finkelstein and freshman Alex Konigsfeldt hold the best singles records this season at 3-1 each. Freshman Eric Lee has also posted successful numbers at number six singles, winning two out of three matches since his first start against Washington. After the match against LMU last Sunday, Hui and Therp came away with their first singles wins of the season.
“There’s been a substantial boost in Jack [Hui] and Phil [Therp’s] confidence levels since Sunday,” said Davis. “They’ve had a great few days of practice. Winning [on Sunday] was a huge lift for them.”
Junior Bijan Hejazi, who played in the SAP pre-qualifiers before last Sunday’s match against LMU, has a solid 3-2 record at number one singles. Despite losing three players to injuries, including key senior Anders Dalskov, the win against LMU shows that the Gauchos have some promise for this season in their quest for a ranking and a tournament berth.
Davis has contacted Oregon’s head coach to see if they could start the match earlier in order to avoid the heavy afternoon rain predicted on Sunday. However, the match still may be the second at home to be postponed due to inclement weather.