No. 35 Santa Clara Battles No. 18 Texas in First NCAA Appearance
SANTA CLARA, Calif.- Continuing a historic season, the No. 35 Santa Clara University men's tennis squad will make its NCAA Championship debut against the No. 18 University of Texas Longhorns on May 12 in Palo Alto, Calif. The match will be held at Stanford University. The winner will play the victor of Sacramento State vs. Stanford on Sunday, May 13.
This Week's Matches
No. 35 Santa Clara vs. No.18 Texas • Taube Tennis Center (Palo Alto, Calif.) • 9:00 a.m.
Santa Clara finished out its regular season campaign at 21-5, placing second in the West Coast Conference (WCC) for the third consecutive season.
In 2012 the Broncos have tallied seven wins against ranked opponents on their way to a school-best for victories in a season (21).
Throughout the year, Santa Clara continued to tally all-time bests and its success garnered many accolades from the WCC. Head coach Derek Mills was named the WCC Co-Coach of the Year.
Ilya Osintsev picked up the conference's Freshman of the Year award. Osintsev also garnered All-WCC Honorable Mention honors in singles and a Second Team All-WCC award in doubles. The freshman finished the regular season with a 19-2 singles mark and has won his last four bouts. Osintsev is just the second Bronco to be named WCC Freshman of the Year after Chris Lam picked up the honor in 2002.
Junior Tom Pham had a breakout year for Santa Clara. He recorded 16-straight victories to open the spring before falling in his match against BYU. The junior from San Diego, Calif. is tied for a team-high 23 wins. The Broncos' primary No. 4 player was selected to the WCC All-Academic Team as well as picking up All-WCC Honorable Mention honors in both singles and doubles.
Junior Eugene Muchynski has provided the Broncos with tremendous depth in the bottom-half of the singles order. Muchynski totaled 21 wins as Santa Clara's No. 5 singles player and has won 14 of his last 16 singles matches.
Senior Nico Vinel is a key leader on the Bronco squad. He plays as Santa Clara's primary No. 3 player and has amassed a 19-11 overall record.
The Longhorns are no strangers to the NCAA tournament, making their 30th appearance. Their best finish was in 2008 when they finished as national runner-up to Georgia. Their head coach, Michael Center, is in his 12th season as the Longhorns coach and has amassed a 41-29 record in the NCAA Championship. This season, the Longhorns boast a 16-9 record, but have lost two-straight matches. Most recently Texas fell to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Championship quarterfinals.
Santa Clara and Texas have played three common opponents this year, San Diego, TCU and SMU. Santa Clara defeated SMU 7-0 and TCU 4-3, playing both matches on the road. The Broncos split with conference foe San Diego, winning 4-3 at home in mid-April and then falling 5-2 in the WCC semi-finals. The Longhorns beat TCU 7-0 and SMU 5-2. Texas was defeated on its home courts by USD 4-1 in early March.
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 the latest on the Broncos' postseason.