March 31, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The No. 70 Santa Clara Broncos pulled out an inspiring 4-3 victory over the Harvard Crimson on Saturday afternoon on Alumni Day at the Degheri Tennis Center. Tommy Hicks ground out an incredible 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win at No. 6 singles to clinch the match for Santa Clara. Brian Brogan and Jay Wong also earned impressive wins in singles and Santa Clara won the doubles point.
The day started with an Alumni Day barbecue, sponsored by Taylor Bedilion '05, a former Bronco player and coach. The alumni then stuck around to provide one of the most boisterous atmospheres of the year for Santa Clara.
With senior Bobby Rasmussen out with a broken hand, the Broncos were forced to shuffle the doubles lineup against the Crimson. Kevin McQuaid returned from knee surgery to join Jan Macek at the No. 1 spot in the lineup and they performed a high level. The new pairing earned an 8-5 win to get the day started. Brogan and Wong then followed that with an 8-6 win at No. 3 and the Broncos had the doubles point. At No. 2 Robert Gallman and Blane Shields lost their first match of the season in doubles 8-7 (7-5) in a tightly contested match against Scott Denenberg and Gideon Valkin.
Brogan kept the momentum going with an excellent match at No. 2. The Los Gatos native won 6-3, 6-4 over Ashwin Kumar and SCU was out to a 2-0 lead.
Harvard would not give up, however, and the Crimson recovered with two straight match wins. Valkin handed Shields his first dual match singles loss of the season, beating him 6-3, 6-2. Denenberg followed that with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Gallman at No. 4 to even the match.
George Husack's team would not give up and again dug deep to pull out the win. Wong battled through two tiebreakers to win 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3) over Dan Nguyen to put the Broncos up 3-2.
Hicks then clinched the match with one of the matches of the season. After losing the first set 6-1, Hicks found himself down 4-5 with Harvard's Sasha Ermakov serving for the match. Despite the large deficit, Hicks broke Ermakov to tie the match at 5-5, but he then was broken himself to go down 5-6. The Portland, Ore. native showed his grit by breaking back and sending the second set to a tiebreak, where he quickly got behind 5-1. However, Hicks won six straight points to win the tiebreaker 7-5.
In the third set, Ermakov broke out to a 4-1, 40-love lead, but Hicks showed his determination again, coming back to win the game and then reel off five straight games to win the match 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The win gave SCU the dual match victory, the team's third straight win and 12th in the past 13 matches.
Macek retired with cramps at No. 1 to account for the final 4-3 margin.
Santa Clara plays two important matches next week, taking on Stanford on April 4 at 1:30 p.m. PT on the road and then hosting San Francisco on April 5 at 2:30 p.m. PT.
No. 70 Santa Clara def. Harvard 4-3
Doubles: (Order of finish 1, 3, 2)
1. SCU Jan Macek /Kevin McQuaid def. HAR Sasha Ermakov/Ashwin Kumar 8-5
2. HAR Scott Denenberg/Gideon Valkin def. SCU Robert Gallman/Blane Shields 8-7 (7-5)
3. SCU Brian Brogan/Jay Wong def. HAR Michael Hayes/Dan Nguyen 8-6
Singles: (Order of finish 2, 5, 4, 3, 6, 1)
1. HAR Chris Clayton def. SCU Jan Macek 6-2, 6-7 (8-6), 3-1, ret.
2. SCU Brian Brogan def. HAR Ashwin Kumar 6-3, 6-4
3. SCU Jay Wong def. HAR Dan Nguyen 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-3)
4. HAR Scott Denenberg def. SCU Robert Gallman 6-1, 7-5
5. HAR Gideon Valkin def. SCU Blane Shields 6-3, 6-2
6. SCU Tommy Hicks def. HAR Sasha Ermakov 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4