April 26, 2013
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The University of San Diego men’s tennis team lost 4-3 to BYU in heartbreaking fashion in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament Friday evening. After losing the doubles point, the Toreros would rally to take a 3-2 lead, but ended up falling just short to the No. 2 seeded Cougars. The Toreros, who are ranked No. 41 by the ITA, will now wait for Tuesday’s NCAA Selection show to see if they will make the NCAA Tournament.
"We had to put so much effort in to battle our way back that we lost our physicalness and we lost the match because we were cramping," Head Coach Brett Masi said after the match. "I hope for Thibaut’s sake, being a senior, that we get another chance on Tuesday when our name comes up on the board, and get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament."
The Toreros struggled early on in doubles, losing at the No. 2 and 3 spots to give the Cougars the first point. BYU’s Spencer Smith and Andrey Goryachkov knocked off Romain Kalaydjian and Uros Petronijevic 8-2 at the No. 2. The Cougars John Pearce and Keaton Cullimore followed that with an 8-1 victory at the No. 3 to give BYU the early lead. The Toreros No. 1 duo of Thibaut Visy and Clarke Spinosa held a 7-1 lead at the No. 1, but the match went unfinished.
Junior captain Clarke Spinosa got the Toreros on the board with a dominating 6-1, 6-2 win at the No. 2. It was the eighth consecutive singles victory for Spinosa, who is ranked No. 96 by the ITA.
The Cougars retook the lead after Francis Sargeant bested Romain Kalaydjian 6-2, 6-4 at the No. 3 spot. However, it would be a short-lived lead for BYU as Victor Pugliese answered with a 6-4, 6-3 win at the No. 5 spot to tie the match at two apiece.
Freshman Uros Petronijevic
put the pressure on the Cougars with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 win at the No. 4. Petronijevic, like Spinosa, has also won eight singles matches in a row.
Holding a 3-2 lead, the Toreros would need either Ciaran Fitzgerald or Thibaut Visy to win their match. With both players battling cramps from the long grueling match, the Cougars were able to win the last two points to advance to tomorrow’s WCC Championship match against Pepperdine. John Pearce outlasted Fitzgerald 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-1 at the No. 6 and the 45th ranked Patrick Kawka edged senior captain Thibaut Visy 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2 at the No. 1.
"A senior, possibly playing his last match, and he goes out cramping. I know that’s not the way he wanted to finish it. I feel bad for him," Masi said. "He is a great competitor. He saved four match points as he was cramping, and it just shows he has great character. I love the kid to death."
The Toreros (17-9) will now wait to see if they will be selected as an at-large team for the NCAA Tournament. The selection show will air at 2:00 p.m. on NCAA.com on Tuesday.
#2 BYU def. #3 San Diego 4-3
1. Spinosa/Visy (USD) vs. Kawka/Sargeant (BYU) 7-1 DNF
2. Smith/Goryachkov (BYU) def. Kalaydjian/Petronijevic (USD) 8-2
3. Pearce/Cullimore (BYU) def. Fitzgerald/Pugliese (USD) 8-1
1. #45 Patrick Kawka (BYU) def. Thibaut Visy (USD) 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-2
2. #96 Clarke Spinosa (USD) def. Spencer Smith (BYU) 6-1, 6-2
3. Francis Sargeant (BYU) def. Romain Kalaydjian (USD) 6-2, 6-4
4. Uros Petronijevic (USD) def. Keaton Cullimore (BYU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
5. Victor Pugliese (USD) def. Andrey Goryachkov (BYU) 6-4, 6-3
6. John Pearce (BYU) def. Ciaran Fitzgerald (USD) 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-1
ORDER OF FINISH: Doubles (2,3) Singles (2,3,5,4,6,1)