Men's Tennis Stampedes Past No. 57 Utah State
April 17, 2016
SAN DIEGO – San Diego State men’s tennis closed the home portion of its 2015-16 campaign with a flourish, battling to a 4-3 Mountain West win over No. 57 Utah State on Sunday afternoon and handing the Aggies their first loss in conference play.
With their third win over a nationally ranked opponent, the Aztecs move to 3-1 against Mountain West opponents and are 8-12 overall. Utah State, which closed its regular season against SDSU, finishes the year 6-1 in conference play with a 21-7 overall mark.
“I can’t say enough about this being a complete team victory,” head coach Gene Carswell said. “In all of our conference matches, we come to show that we’re the best. Things didn’t go the way we would’ve liked them to in Boise but especially in this game, it’s not about what happens to you but how you deal with it. I think our guys did a good job dealing with it, putting the loss behind us and coming out here determined.”
With temperatures holding steady in the low 90s for the duration of the match, the Aztecs were unfazed. San Diego State was able to secure the doubles point with wins in the top two spots. Milen Ianakiev and Santiago Cevallos beat Romai Ugarte and Luis Lopez on court No. 1, 6-3, while Hendrik Jebens and Sander Gjoels-Andersen topped Jonas Maier and Jack Swindells, 6-4, in the No. 2 spot.
“I thought Milen and Santiago really did an excellent job today,” Carswell said. “They came out and played commanding, ‘take charge’ doubles. Hendrik and Sander also did a great job. They battled well and are playing disciplined doubles, which will be important for us to continue to do.”
In singles play, things didn’t start positively for the Aztecs when Utah State’s Jaime Barajas earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Freddy Gelbrich in the top spot.
Jebens, though, regained SDSU’s lead in the match with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Swindells on the adjacent court.
The Scarlet and Black fell behind, however, after Goles-Babic dropped his match to Samuel Serrano, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, in the No. 5 spot and on court No. 6, Raul de la Torre fell to Ugarte, 6-3, 6-4.
Down a point, the Aztecs fought their way to the win column. Goles-Andersen narrowly defeated Lopez, 7-6 (5), before dominating in the second set, 6-1 for the victory.
“To have Sander come out and take some of the things he learned from the first set and apply them to the second set for the 6-1 victory was tremendous,” said Carswell. “He’s been learning a lot and I think we’ve seen a lot of growth out of him as a player. The future is bright for him.”
Ianakiev then secured the Aztec win in the No. 3 spot when he came from behind from a 3-6 first set to notch 7-6 (5), 6-3 wins for the 4-3 final score.
Said Carswell of the junior, “Milen fought so hard in that second set. He was down two match points. If he loses that match, we have no chance of winning. It shows that you never know in this sport. You’ve got to keep working all the way through and if you take use your Aztec pride to push and fight, good things can happen.”
Next up, the Aztecs will head to Las Vegas, Nev., on Fri., April 22 for a 3 p.m. neutral site match against Air Force and a road match at UNLV on Sat., April 23 at 11 a.m. PT.
San Diego State 4, No. 57 Utah State 3