by Brandon Rebboah
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- After a week hiatus during finals week, the No. 34 Santa Clara men's tennis team (13-3) returns to the court this week with two matches at the Degheri Tennis Center. The Broncos begin the West Coast Conference portion of its schedule when it hosts No. 38 BYU, the newest members of the WCC, on Fri., Mar. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Santa Clara then hosts Dartmouth on Sat., Mar. 24 at 1 p.m.
This Week's Matches
No. 34 Santa Clara vs. No. 38 BYU • Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 5:30 p.m.
No. 34 Santa Clara vs. Dartmouth • Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 1 p.m.
The Broncos match against BYU will be their first since Mar. 10 to accommodate the Bronco student-athletes preparing for finals.
In its last seven matches, Santa Clara has downed five of its opponents 7-0 including a clean sweep against Idaho and Sonoma State March 10-11. In total, the Broncos have bested nine of their 16 opponents 7-0.
The Broncos continue to battle against some of the NCAA's best programs. The Broncos have played six 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 has a team-high 16 wins since the beginning of fall play. Pham has been the Broncos' primary No. 4 singles player and continues to collect wins throughout his fine play this spring.
Eugene Muchynski continues to play well for the Broncos. Muchynski has won 11 of his last 12 contests.
In singles, the Broncos have two players inside the ITA's top-150 singles players. Kyle Dandan currently sits at No. 133, while Pham is No. 150. Freshman Ilya Osintsev is just one spot away from the top-150, currently sitting at No. 151.
Super Senior Kyle Dandan
Playing as the Broncos' primary No. 1 singles player, Dandan has consistently faced opponents' top players. A native of the Philippines, Dandan has played four 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 Broncos off to a 13-3 start this season.
The senior has played all of his matches in the No. 1 position while amassing a 10-6 record
Dandan made an appearance on the regionally-televised COMCAST 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. Ted Robinson is one of the anaylsts who works doing TV at the French Open and Wimbledon.
When the Cougars travel to the Mission Campus, it will be their first men's tennis match as a member of the WCC. BYU also is coming off of a rest week. They last played against then-No. 46 New Mexico, defeating their old Mountain West Conference foe 5-2. BYU has not lost a match since Mar. 10 against No. 9 Stanford. The No. 38 Cougars are led by ITA singles No. 45 Georgy Batrokov. Batrokov plays in the No. 1 spot for BYU and has amassed an 18-8 overall record. Patrick Kawka, who started the season as the No. 53 singles player, leads the team in wins (21). Kawka and Batrokov pair up as the most effective Cougar doubles tandem.
Santa Clara has already been setting all-time marks this season. Before sitting idle this week, the No. 29 ranking was the best ever for a Santa Clara squad. The ranking was the second all-time high in the last few weeks. 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. 29 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 the Mission Campus.