April 26, 2014
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The No. 44 University of San Diego men's tennis team (17-7) completed their undefeated season in conference play with a thrilling victory over No. 51 Pepperdine (17-13) Saturday afternoon at the Barnes Tennis Center. The Toreros win their second West Coast Conference Championship title since 2011.
After an electrifying performance in doubles, the Toreros stayed strong. Even after an attempt by the Waves to shake their momentum, junior Andrew Raphaelson clinched for the second time against Pepperdine this season, pushing the Toreros to a 4-1 victory.
In doubles, sophomores Uros Petronijevic and Romain Kalaydjian, who also made the WCC All-Tournament Team, quickly found their groove. The pair pulled away with the win and defeated Waves' Tom Hill and Rakshay Thakkar 8-4. No. 14 Alex Sarkissian and Francis Alcantara took revenge over No. 38 senior Clarke Spinosa and freshman Filip Vittek, picking up an 8-5 victory. The point would then come down to juniors Ciaran Fitzgerald and Andrew Raphaelson. The tandem came back from a 4-0 deficit, eventually equalizing the match at 7-7. With the pressure being felt on both ends, Raphaelson came up with a clutch forehand down the line to give the Toreros the edge and later the win 8-7(5).
Freshman Filip Vittek got revenge of his own, knocking off Waves' David Sofaer 6-4, 6-1 to extend the Torero lead. Petronijevic, who fell to Pepperdine's Francis Alacantara in their previous meeting, came back from a significant deficit in the first set to defeat Alacantara 7-6(2), 6-4.
With the Toreros up 3-0, the remaining matches were still tight - three out of the four matches going to third sets. Although dropping the second set, Raphaelson was determined to clinch for the second time this season. Utilizing his powerful groundstrokes, Raphaelson defeated Waves' Pedro Leme 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.
"I broke down talking to the guys because I was really proud of them," Head coach Brett Masi expressed after the match. "Having a young group of guys, especially, five of them that have never seen a college tennis match - they came out and performed. Even when we lost our guys battled every single day and today was no different. Pepperdine is tough to beat, especially twice in a season. It just shows that our guys have grown throughout the entire year. I was proud of them whether we won or not, they battled. More than anything this year I have put an emphasis on fighting and that's what they did."
USD earns an automatic bid for the NCAA Championships which are set to begin on May 15. The NCAA men's tennis selection show is scheduled for April 29 at 2:00 pm PT.
TheW.tv's Amanda Blackwell talks with Raphaelson after his singles victory clinched the WCC Men's Tennis Championship for the Toreros over Pepperdine in the video below.
#44 San Diego 4, #51 Pepperdine 1
1. #14 Alex Sarkissian/Francis Alcantara (PEP) def. #38 Clarke Spinosa/Filip Vittek (USD) 8-5
2. Uros Petronijevic/Romain Kalaydjian (USD) def. Tom Hill/Rakshay Thakkar (PEP) 8-4
3. Ciaran Fitzgerald/Andrew Raphaelson (USD) def. David Sofaer/Alex Giannini (PEP) 8-7(5)
1. #53 Clarke Spinosa (USD) vs. #31 Alex Sarkissian (PEP) 6-2, 6-7(5), 4-4 DNF
2. Uros Petronijevic (USD) def. Francis Alcantara (PEP) 7-6(2), 6-4
3. Filip Vittek (USD) def. David Sofaer (PEP) 6-4, 6-1
4. Stefan Menichella (PEP) def. Romain Kalaydjian (USD) 7-5, 7-6(6)
5. Ciaran Fitzgerald (USD) vs. Rakshay Thakkar (PEP) 4-6, 6-4, 3-2 DNF
6. Andrew Raphaelson (USD) def. Pedro Leme (PEP) 7-5, 4-6, 6-4
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2, 3); Singles (3, 2, 4, 6)
2014 West Coast Conference Men's Tennis All-Tournament Team
Men's Doubles West Coast Conference All-Tournament Team
No. 1. - John Lamble/Ilya Osintsev - Santa Clara
No. 2. - Uros Petronijevic/Romain Kalaydjian - San Diego
No. 3. - Miguel Diaz/Alex Hamilton - Pacific
Men's Singles West Coast Conference All-Tournament Team
No. 1 - Clarke Spinosa - San Diego
No. 2 - Ilya Osintsev - Santa Clara
No. 3 - Ratan Gill - Portland
No. 4 - Daniel Alameh - Pacific
No. 5 - Ciaran Fitzgerald - San Diego
No. 6 - Germain Bahri - San Francisco
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