M. Tennis to Host Santa Clara, UNLV This Weekend

The Aztecs set to battle Santa Clara and UNLV in a pair of home matches this weekend.
April 20, 2017

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State closes out its 2017 regular-season slate this weekend when it plays host to Santa Clara and UNLV in a pair of dual matches at Aztec Tennis Center. SDSU will engage the Broncos in a non-conference clash on Friday, beginning at 2 p.m. PT, before the squaring off against the Rebels in the Mountain West finale for both squads on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. PT.

In addition, this weekend's matches will mark the final home appearances for Marko Goles-Babic (Zagreb, Croatia) and Milen Ianakiev (Elz, Hesse, Germany), who will be honored prior to Friday's encounter with Santa Clara as part of Senior Day festivities.

SDSU (7-14, 3-3 MW) is coming off a highly successful road trip last weekend, posting a pair of 4-2 victories over Air Force and New Mexico.

The Aztecs stumbled out the gates against the Falcons on April 14, dropping the early doubles point, before storming back with four victories in singles play. Goles-Babic provided the clinching win with a gritty 7-5, 7-6(4) triumph at center court to help the Scarlet and Black put the brakes on a season-long nine-match losing skid.

Two days later against the Lobos, SDSU snapped another dubious streak, winning the doubles point for the first time in six matches, with Goles-Babic and freshman David Hough (Traralgon, Australia) joining forces to collect the decisive victory in the No. 3 position. Shortly thereafter in singles competition, Goles-Babic was the first player of the court with a straight-set triumph at the top of the ladder for his fifth win in a row.

In addition, junior Santiago Cevallos (Queretaro, Mexico) and sophomore Sander Gjoels-Andersen (Klampenborg, Denmark) posted two victories apiece last week.

Santa Clara (14-5, 4-4 WCC) has come up short in its last two outings at home, falling to Pepperdine 4-1 in West Coast Conference action on April 9, before dropping a tough 4-3 decision to another league rival San Francisco on April 15. Previously, the Broncos had won six of seven, including a 4-3 triumph over Mountain West member Fresno State on March 18.

Individually, Santa Clara is led sophomores Andrew Gu and Connor Garnett, who each sport a 13-4 record in dual-match competition playing in the second and third positions, respectively. In addition, freshman Vasileios Iliopoulos boasts a 12-5 mark this spring alternating between in the fourth and fifth spots. In doubles, Garnett and sophomore Robert Seby hold a 5-2 record in dual matches at the top of the rotation.

The Aztecs are 4-2 against the Broncos dating back to 1989. The two schools have faced each other over the last four seasons, with each side posting two victories on its home courts. Last year, SDSU suffered a narrow 4-3 defeat in Silicon Valley, dropping three singles matches in three sets after claiming the doubles point.

Meanwhile, UNLV (16-7, 4-2 MW) arrives in "America's Finest City" riding a five-match winning streak. Like San Diego State, the Rebels completed a road sweep of New Mexico and Air Force last week to climb into a second-place tie in the Mountain West standings with Fresno State, one match behind front-runner Utah State. Prior to engaging the Aztecs, UNLV will visit the University of San Diego for a non-conference tilt on Friday.

Individually, the Rebels are led by junior Alexandr Cozbinov, who owns a 14-4 record in dual matches playing primarily in the No. 2 position, while senior Jakob Amilon, the reigning MW Player of the Week, sports a 13-4 mark in the No. 1 spot this spring, winning his last six in a row.

In doubles competition, Amilon and sophomore Evaldo Neto have compiled a 16-5 record in dual matches at the top of the UNLV order, emerging victorious in their last five encounters and nine of their last 10.

SDSU is 21-10 against the Rebels since 1989; however, UNLV snapped the Aztecs' seven-match winning streak in the series with a 4-3 victory last year in Las Vegas. The Scarlet and Black came away with the doubles point, but could not maintain the momentum in singles, as the Rebels posted four wins to complete the comeback.

Following Saturday's action, San Diego State will begin preparations for the Mountain West Championships, scheduled for April 28-30 in Boise, Idaho.

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