by Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Fresh off of a 7-0 victory over then-No. 57 UNLV, the Santa Clara men's tennis program reached new heights Wednesday when it was ranked No 43 in the latest Intercollegiate Tennis Association's rankings. It's the highest ranking ever for the men's tennis team. Santa Clara returns to the Degheri Tennis Center for the first time since its opening weekend when the Broncos host the Southeastern Conference's Arkansas on Fri., Feb. 24 and Pacific on Sun., Feb. 26.
No. 43 Santa Clara vs. Arkansas SMU• Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 3 p.m.
No. 43 Santa Clara vs. Pacific Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 12 p.m.
Santa Clara (7-2) continues to battle against some of the NCAA's best programs. The Broncos have played five of their nine matches against ITA ranked opponents.
Junior Tom Pham is red-hot for Santa Clara. Pham has yet to drop a singles match this spring, picking up nine straight victories. Overall in 2011-12, Pham has a combined singles record of 9-1.
Senior Nicolas Vinel and sophomore John Lamble (pictured) are keeping pace with Pham in overall wins (9). Eugene Muchynski is boasting a winning-streak of his own. Muchynski has won his last five singles contests.
Super Senior Kyle Dandan
Santa Clara senior men's tennis player Kyle Dandan is ranked No. 103 in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in its latest rankings released on Thurs., Feb. 16. The ITA ranks the top 125 individuals in the country. Dandan's ranking is a season-high for a Bronco player.
Playing as the Broncos' primary No. 1 singles player, Dandan has consistently faced opponents' top players. A native of the Philippines, Dandan has played three opponents in the top-50, while being able to edge then-No. 31, now No. 29, Ryan Thatcher of Stanford. He has garnered WCC honors in each of his first three seasons and has helped the No. 49 Broncos off to a 5-2 start this season.
You can also catch Dandan on TV this week during the halftime show of the Santa Clara men's basketball game. Dandan and women's tennis player Katie Le will both appear with Comcast's Ted Robinson at halftime live vs. Pepperdine (7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 23).
Arkansas (6-2) enters the weekend after a 6-1 loss to Tulsa. The Razorbacks are led by Matt Walters who has a team-high 12 singles victories. In doubles, the tandem of Hall Fess and Walters are the top pair for the Razorbacks, teaming up for a 13-2 record.
The Tigers enter the weekend at 3-3 after splitting matches with Loyola Marymount and St. Mary's. Pacific fell to St. Mary's and picked up a win against LMU. Leading the Tigers is reigning Big West Tennis Player of the Week Ivan Castro. Castro was perfect in both singles and doubles last weekend against LMU and St. Mary's.
Santa Clara has already been setting all-time marks this season. The current No. 43 ranking is the best ever for a Santa Clara squad. Additionally, the Broncos began the season at a school-best No. 50 in the ITA rankings, the highest ever to begin the season … the doubles tandem of Vinel/Dandan opened the fall with the best-ever doubles ranking in school history as the nation's No. 37 tandem.
The Bronco tennis program has players and coaches from seven countries, including players from five countries and two international coaches. The SCU team boasts players from five different countries including the U.S., France, Japan, Russia and the Philippines. The coaching staff is also a mix of internationals including first-year assistant coach, Jose Hilla who is from Oviedo, Spain and third-year assistant Jakub Cech is from Prague, Czech Republic.
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