SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 60 Bronco men's tennis team, coming off an exciting 4-3 win over USF April 13, will look to win its final two regular season matches this weekend, including senior day on Sunday. The Broncos downed USF last time out for their second conference victory, and with wins this weekend would finish .500 in the WCC while securing the No. 4 seed in the WCC Tournament.
"I liked how the team competed in doubles; we knew they had won 14 doubles points in a row and we challenged ourselves to break that streak," said Bronco head coach Derek Mills after the big win. "Once again our go-to guys in singles came through with John and Tom winning in straight sets and then Matt clinching the win with a solid performance at No. 3."
The Broncos will host the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Fri., April 19 at 3 pm. After a day off, Santa Clara will face the Portland Pilots on Sun., April 21 at 11 am in its final match of the regular season. Sunday's contest is also senior day, where Santa Clara will honor its three seniors – Matt Kecki, Eugene Muchynski and Tom Pham. On Sunday, a BBQ sponsored by the Bronco Bench Foundation will be held, and the Broncos' three seniors will be recognized in a ceremony between singles and doubles.
Santa Clara's record is 14-9 overall and it is 2-4 in WCC matches. The Broncos are 11-3 at home, 1-5 on the road and 2-1 in neutral contests.
The Broncos picked up a big 4-3 win over USF in a hard-fought match at home. The Broncos grabbed the doubles point for the early advantage and held on behind three singles wins, snapping their three match losing streak. Now at 2-4 in the conference, Santa Clara needs to win its final two matches to secure the No. 4 seed for the WCC Tournament and set itself up for a first round matchup with Gonzaga.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are 7-12 overall and 0-6 in the West Coast Conference. In its last match, Gonzaga fell 7-0 to No. 39 BYU in the Bulldogs' final regular season contest. Gonzaga has lost three straight matches and eight of nine contests, with the win coming against New Mexico State.
The Bulldogs started the 2013 season well, accumulating a 6-4 record through their first 10 matches. They have been unsuccessful so far in WCC play, however, and occupy the lowest spot in the conference standings.
The Portland Pilots are 10-9 with a 2-4 WCC record, tying them with Santa Clara and USF for fifth place in the WCC standings. In Portland's previous match, its final contest at home for the season, it was topped 5-2 by No. 39 BYU. Portland No. 1 doubles duo downed a BYU tandem ranked No. 86 nationally, and the Pilots also won in the No. 2 and No. 5 singles slots.
Prior to facing BYU, Portland fell to No. 10 Pepperdine, 6-1. The Pilots face USF on Friday before visiting the Mission Campus on Sunday.
Last Time Out
Against WCC competitor USF, the Broncos came out firing in doubles and didn't look back, ultimately coming up with a 4-3 win. John Lamble and Ilya Osintsev played one of Santa Clara's best doubles matches of the season, defeating a solid USF duo 8-3 in the top spot. With the victory, Lamble and Osintsev broke their opponents' five match win streak and dropped them to 15-3 in duals matches.
At No. 2, Matt Kecki and Tom Pham clinched the doubles point for the Broncos with an 8-6 win, which turned out to be the difference-maker in the match. Santa Clara's streak of five straight doubles point losses came to an end in the process, and they handed USF its second doubles point loss of the season (No. 4 USC).
Although the Dons had their doubles streak snapped they refused to give in, keeping pace with Santa Clara until the very end. The Broncos picked up their second point of the match when No. 82 Lamble dispatched Thai Tu 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1. Lamble, the WCC Player of the Month for March, won his second match in a row and upped his record to 19-12 overall.
Pham recorded the third Bronco win, battling for a 7-5, 6-4 final at No. 4. Pham, the team leader in wins, improved to 21-9 overall while stopping a three game skid. Kecki came through in the clutch at No. 3, besting his opponent in three sets 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 to secure the Bronco victory. The Sacramento, Calif. native picked up his 12th win of the season (12-7 overall).
At No. 2, Osintsev fell in straight sets to Bernardo Saraiva, who improved to 14-2 in dual matches. Tomasz Soltyka battled in a tight contest in the fifth spot, falling 7-5, 6-4 in the second-to-last match to finish. Eugene Muchynski took the second set after dropping the first, but was unable to complete the comeback. Muchynski's final was 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.
John Lamble: WCC Player of the Month for March
John Lamble was honored by the WCC as the WCC Men's Tennis Singles Player of the Month for March. Lamble, ranked No. 75 in the country with an 19-12 record, turned in a tremendous March as the leader of the No. 60 Bronco squad. The junior from Saratoga, Calif. went 7-2 overall in singles during March including a six match winning streak to kick off the month. His efforts kept the team strong despite missing several starters for the majority of the month, and the Broncos rallied in the rankings as a result, moving up to No. 56 in the April 2 edition.
With three straight wins coming into March, Lamble picked up where he left off, extending his winning streak with an additional six consecutive victories. Lamble's seventh and final win of the month came against LMU, as Lamble rallied after dropping the first set to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. This match proved to be key in helping the Broncos win 4-3 and pick up their first conference win of the season.
The last time a Bronco received WCC Player of the Month accolades came last year: Lamble and Ilya Osintsev were named the doubles team of the year for March, 2012.
In March, Santa Clara went 5-4 with four 4-3 wins (UC Irvine, Furman, No. 55 Tulane and LMU) and one 5-2 win over Northern Arizona. The Broncos fell 5-2 to St. Mary's on March 1st and were edged 4-3 by Pacific and Purdue. Santa Clara also was defeated by No. 6 Pepperdine, 4-2. The team hung tough during a challenging stretch where several key players were unavailable. Back at full strength, the Broncos are looking to make a strong final push in the WCC.
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 one Czech native in first-year assistant coach Rudy Siwy.