SANTA CLARA, Calif.- After splitting home matches last weekend, the Santa Clara men's tennis team travels south for a two-match weekend against two ranked opponents. For the second consecutive week, the Broncos have posted a school-high ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's national rankings. No. 37 Santa Clara (8-3) will battle UC Irvine on Fri., Mar. 2 and then No. 50 UC Santa Barbara on Sun., Mar. 4.
No. 37 Santa Clara @ UC Irvine • Anteater Tennis Stadium (Irvine, Calif.) • 1 p.m.
No. 37 Santa Clara @ No. 50 UCSB • Recreation Center Courts (Santa Barbara, Calif.) • 11 a.m.
Santa Clara (8-3) enters the weekend after splitting a two-match weekend on its home court. The Broncos lost a heartbreaker to Arkansas 4-3 on Feb. 24, but salvaged the weekend with a decisive 7-0 victory over Pacific on Feb. 26.
The Broncos continue to battle against some of the NCAA's best programs. The Broncos have played five ranked opponents this season and have won three out of five of those matches, falling only to then-No. 6 Stanford and then-No. 33 Fresno State. The Broncos have picked up marquee wins over ranked teams such as Boise State, TCU and UNLV.
Junior Tom Pham is playing well for the Broncos. Pham has a combined singles record of 12-1. His only loss to date came at the ITA Regionals in Oct. against Cal's Carlos Cueto. Cueto finished last season as one of the Top 60 singles players.
Senior Nicolas Vinel is pacing Pham in wins. Vinel is tied with Pham for a team-high 12 victories this season.
Sophomore John Lamble is close behind Pham and Vinel with 11 victories this season.
Eugene Muchynski continues to play well for the Broncos. Muchynski won five-straight matches from Feb. 5 to Feb. 24 before splitting his matches last weekend.
Super Senior Kyle Dandan
Senior Kyle Dandan is ranked No. 106 in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association in its latest rankings released on Wed., Feb. 28. 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.
Dandan recently made an appearance on the halftime show of the Santa Clara men's basketball game vs. Pepperdine. Dandan and women's tennis player Katie Le both appeared with Comcast's Ted Robinson to talk about Bronco tennis during the Pepperdine game on Feb. 23.
UC Irvine will host a midweek match against Rice before hosting Santa Clara this weekend. The Anteaters have struggled this season, but have played some tough opponents early. UC Irvine enters the week at 1-8 with six losses to teams in the ITA's Top 75. UCI's lone victory was against UNLV, who the Broncos also have beaten this year.
UC Santa Barbara
No. 50 UCSB is coming off of a 7-0 victory over UC Davis. Before hosting Santa Clara, the Gauchos will travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif. to battle Cal Poly on Sat., Mar. 3. Santa Barbara is 7-4 overall and already has two conference victories in Big West play.
Santa Clara has already been setting all-time marks this season. The current No. 37 ranking is the best-ever for a Santa Clara squad. The ranking is the second all-time high in the last two weeks. Last week the Broncos were ranked No. 43 - a then-school-best. 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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Be sure to check back to SantaClaraBroncos.com this weekend for a recap from Southern California.