February 4, 2013

No. 37 Bronco Men's Tennis Travels to Weber State and BYU for WCC Opener

West Coast Conference Weekly Release

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After earning a split in Seattle, the No. 37 Santa Clara men's tennis team travels to Utah for its fifth and sixth consecutive matches away from the Mission Campus, including its 2013 West Coast Conference opener.

Santa Clara will travel to Ogden, Utah to face Weber State on Thur., Feb. 7 at 12 pm. On Sat., Feb. 9 at 12 pm the Broncos will take on West Coast Conference foe BYU in the Broncos first conference match of the year.

The Broncos fell 4-0 at No. 23 Washington on Feb. 1. Santa Clara rebounded for a thrilling, come-from-behind 4-3 victory over No. 38 Boise State in Seattle on Feb. 2.

Santa Clara Broncos
After sweeping UC Davis and UC Santa Cruz on opening day, No. 37 Santa Clara has gone 1-1 each of its two previous weekends. Their record stands at 4-2 on the season with its two losses coming to top 25 teams (vs. No. 20 Michigan, at No. 23 Washington).

In the win vs. No. 38 Boise State on Feb. 2, the Broncos had a number of outstanding performances.  Freshman Tomasz Soltyka, who was appearing in only his second career match, pulled out a key win to lift Santa Clara to a 4-3 victory.  After losing the first set, Soltyka rallied for a 7-5 second set win and took the third set 6-4, clinching the SCU win.

Although Boise State took the doubles point, Santa Clara won four singles matches to record the win. In addition to Soltyka's performance at No. 6 singles, Ilya Osintsev picked up an important 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 2 singles.

Veteran Matt Kecki came up big as well, winning in three long sets at No. 3. Freshman Ashot Khacharyan moved up to No. 5 and stepped up to the challenge, winning 6-2, 6-4.

In the ITA Kick-Off weekend tournament Jan. 25-26, the Broncos earned a split as well. On Jan. 25, the Broncos battled a deep and experienced Michigan squad ranked No. 20 in the country, eventually falling 4-1.

Santa Clara rebounded against then-No. 38 Boise State on Jan. 26, picking up a strong 4-1 win over a competitive opponent. Despite a Boise win at No. 1 doubles, Santa Clara took the doubles point with an 8-2 win at No. 2 by veterans Kecki and Pham and a clutch 8-7 victory by Khacharyan and Eugene Muchysnki at No. 3 doubles.

In singles, No. 65 John Lamble pulled off a big win with an upset 6-3, 6-3 victory over No. 28 Andrew Bettles. Kecki stepped up with a 6-3, 6-3 victory of his own, and dependable Pham made quick work of his opponent 6-1, 6-0, improving his record to 8-2 on the season including 3-0 in dual match (regular season) play.

All-Time Highs
Coming off its hugely successful 2012 campaign, Santa Clara has already been setting all-time marks this season. The Broncos began the season at a school-best No. 36 in the ITA preseason rankings, the highest ever to begin the season. The Broncos have also been in the ITA rankings since March 9, 2010 which is the program's best streak ever. John Lamble's preseason national ranking of No. 65 was the highest ever for a Bronco player heading into a season.

New Faces
Santa Clara welcomes one transfer student-athlete and two freshmen to the men's tennis team in 2013. This fall, Santa Clara added Matt Kecki to the roster. Kecki played and graduated from the University of Southern California. He will use his final year of eligibility to compete for Santa Clara, while working on his Master's in Business Administration. 

Kecki has been a key player for the Broncos so far in 2013. The Sacramento native is 4-0 in dual singles matches in 2013 and has provided veteran leadership for the squad.

Kecki has come through when it has been needed the most. Against No. 38 Boise State on Saturday he came away with a three set win, and in the ITA Kick-Off weekend he took down a tough Boise State competitor which was important in securing the 4-1 win.

In addition to the veteran hold-overs from last year's NCAA tournament team, a duo of freshmen recently made their first appearances on the Mission campus.

Ashot Khacharyan, from Sochi, Russia graduated from Peoples' Friendship University of Russia in Sochi in 2012 and is a highly-regarded and successful player. Khacharyan wasted no time making his presence felt, turning in an outstanding opening day debut with two singles wins and two doubles wins.

On Saturday in the rematch against Boise State, he came up with a strong straight set victory, helping SCU avoid an upset. In the ITA Kick-Off weekend, he picked up a clutch 8-7 doubles victory with Muchysnki in the team's 4-1 final over No. 38 Boise State.

Khacharyan reached No. 61 in the International Tennis Federation (junior) rankings and 998 in the ATP rankings, and will look to follow in countryman and WCC Freshman of the Year Ilya Osintsev's footsteps as an impact player for the Broncos. 

Tomasz Soltyka hails from Golynia, Poland and graduated from Liceum Jezuitow in 2012. Soltyka was instrumental in the team's 4-3 win over No. 38 Boise State, winning the deciding match in three sets after losing the first set. Against UC Santa Cruz on opening day, Soltyka recorded a decisive win, 6-1, 6-4, over Max Littlejohn in his NCAA debut.

Soltyka was ranked sixth in the Polish U-18 rankings and eighth in the U-16 rankings. He is also a three-time bronze medalist in the Polish Championships U-16, and he helped his team win the gold medal in the Polish Championships U-16 and the bronze medal in the U-18.

Global Perspectives
The Bronco men's tennis program has players and coaches from four countries, including three international players and two international coaches … the SCU roster features four players from the United States, two players from Russia and one player from Poland … the coaching staff also includes two Czech natives, first-year assistant coach Rudy Siwy and fifth-year assistant Jakub Cech.

Weber State 

Weber State is 1-2 on the season after picking up their first win Feb. 3 over Idaho State. The Wildcats two losses have come to in-state competitors BYU and Utah, each by the score of 6-1.

Weber State is led by freshman Todd Fought, from British Columbia, Canada. Following Fought is junior Oliver Good from Melbourne, Australia. Rounding out the top three is another foreign student-athlete, freshman Jakub Gewert from Gnlezno, Poland.

BYU

BYU has started its season off strongly, recording a 6-2 record with its only losses coming to No. 3 UCLA and No. 18 Stanford. 

Patrick Kawka, a junior who was named All-WCC Second Team Doubles last season, leads the Cougars at No. 1 singles. He defeated No. 44 Winston Lin from Columbia 6-0, 6-4 on Jan. 21.

Senior Spencer Smith is the No. 2 singles player. Smith had a team-best singles record (.763) and a team-high singles wins (29) last season, and he holds the highest singles winning percentage (.763) all-time.

The No. 1 doubles duo of Kawka and Francis Sargeant, as well as Keaton Cullimore and John Pearce at No. 3 doubles, are 6-1 on the season.

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