Broncos rally at home to return to winning form
THE SANTA CLARA
April 3, 2014
Taking a break from West Coast Conference match play, the Santa Clara men’s tennis team cruised to a 7-0 rout of the Bearcats from Willamette University at home on Friday.
With the victory, the now No. 67-ranked Santa Clara squad ended its two-match losing skid and moved to 11-4 on the season.
“To be honest, it was a match we always knew we should win,” said assistant coach Aaron Paajanen. “Regardless, it was still important that guys came prepared to compete and win.”
That they did. All eight Bronco competitors triumphed in either singles and doubles action in blowout fashion.
“It was a good way for us to turn things around and move in a positive direction,” said senior John Lamble.
As they have been doing for a majority of the season, Santa Clara’s No. 1 doubles pair of Lamble and junior Ilya Osintsev came out on the winning end of their match. The tandem made quick work of the Willamette pairing, eventually claiming the 8-1 victory.
“Both guys are talented players and good competitors,” said Paajanen. “Both guys compliment each other’s games well.”
Paajanen noted that Lamble’s focus and determination coupled with Osintsev’s physical traits and athletic ability make for a formidable duo that can compete day in and day out.
In the other doubles matches, the Santa Clara pairings of Ashot Khacharyan alongside Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Michael Tjuatjadarma side-by-side with Sam Bertram dismantled the Bearcat tandems both by a score of 8-0.
Santa Clara’s success in doubles carried over into the individual matchups.
“All eight guys got to play at one point or another so everyone was able to contribute a win for the team,” said Paajanen.
In singles play, every Santa Clara competitor rolled to a straight set victory. The closest any Willamette challenger came to a Bronco was 6-3 in the first set of the match between Santa Clara’s Khmiadashvili and the Bearcats’ Will Cooper.
The squad will look to capitalize from Friday’s victory and use that momentum to find the win column after falling in their previous two West Coast Conference matches.
“Playing two tough conference opponents on the road last week didn’t take away from what we have done or prevent us from staying focused on our goals as a team for the rest of the season,” said Paajanen.
The Broncos currently find themselves in the middle of the pack in the conference standings. The team is 2-2 in WCC play, good for fifth place with just over half of the conference season to be played in the next three weeks.
Santa Clara will resume WCC play by welcoming the third-place Toreros from the University of San Diego to the Degheri Tennis Center on April 4. The following afternoon, Santa Clara will clash with the Cougars from Brigham Young University.
“(The) next two matches are very important for us,” said Osintsev. “I think the key to win both of them is to have a good start meaning winning a doubles point.”
Contact Brendan Weber at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.