SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Bronco men's tennis finished a busy stretch where they played five matches in ten days, coming away with a 3-2 record. Despite missing several starters, they showed their resiliency and toughness by pulling out two 4-3 matches and one 5-2 match.
Santa Clara will host Purdue University on Saturday. The Broncos and Boilermakers will square off at 2 pm for an afternoon contest at the Degheri Tennis Center.
The Broncos bested the visiting Northern Arizona Lumberjacks with a 5-2 final on Sunday, pushing them above .500 for their recent five-match stretch. The win marked a milestone for Bronco Head Coach Derek Mills, as he reached his 100th career NCAA victory. Santa Clara came out firing in doubles and never looked back, taking the match in a 5-2 final. The win upped the team's record to 11-5 and improved their home record to an impressive 8-1.
Santa Clara set the tone early, winning the doubles point. John Lamble and Tom Pham rolled at No. 1, blanking their opponents 8-0 to gain SCU's first win. Tomasz Soltyka and Logan Chun played consistently and took advantage of their opportunities, winning the final four games of the match for an 8-4 victory.
In singles, Santa Clara took each of the top four matchups. No. 66 Lamble was a straight-setter winner for his eighth consecutive win (15-9 overall), giving him the longest winning streak of any Bronco this season. Ashot Khacharyan made his second appearance at No. 2, shutting out his opponent 6-0 in the first set before winning the second set 6-4. Khacharyan's victory boosted his record to 12-2 on the season and he has won 10 of his past 11 matches.
Pham pulled out the first-set tiebreaker en route to a 7-6, 6-2 win, his 17th of the year (17-6 overall) and fourth in a row. Soltyka recorded his second straight win in a 6-3, 6-4 final, evening his record at 5-5.
In the previous match, visiting University of the Pacific edged SCU, snapping the Broncos' perfect home record. The No. 1 doubles match turned out to be the difference-maker, and the Tigers edged SCU 10-8 in a competitive tiebreaker that could have gone either way.
In singles, No. 66 Lamble triumphed 6-1, 6-3 over his Pacific opponent. Since a brutal five-match stretch against top 50 opponents where he went 1-4, Lamble has been on a tear and has not dropped a match in over one month. Khacharyan continued his outstanding run with a 6-0, 7-5 win at No. 3, while Pham recorded a 6-1, 7-5 final.
The Purdue Boilermakers are 12-3 on the season and were recently ranked No. 66 before dropping out of the latest rankings. The Boilermakers pulled out a big 4-3 road win at Fresno on Wednesday behind the doubles point win and victories from their No. 4-6 singles players. Purdue is undefeated when winning the doubles point this season, so as the Broncos have seen in their recent matches, the doubles point may be the difference between victory and defeat. The Boilermakers have won four of their last five matches with their only loss coming 4-3 to Arkansas.
Szymon Tatarczyk, a native from Poland, leads the Boilermakers at No. 1 singles. Prior to his loss to Fresno State, Tatarczyk was riding a four-match win streak.
Recap: February Matches
Santa Clara entered the month looking to build on a promising 3-1 January that saw it top UC Davis 6-1, UC Santa Cruz 7-0, and No. 38 Boise State 4-1 while suffering its only loss to No. 20 Michigan. The Broncos kept up their momentum, finishing 5-2 in February with their only losses coming to top-50 teams.
On Feb. 1, Santa Clara battled hard with No. 22 Washington, eventually falling to the host Huskies. The Broncos rebounded strongly the following day, pulling out a huge 4-3 comeback win over No. 38 Boise State in a rematch of the previous weekend's ITA Kick-Off consolation.
Santa Clara had a number of outstanding performances in the victory over Boise State. Tomasz Soltyka, who was appearing in only his second career match, rallied for a 7-5 second set and 6-4 third set win after dropping the first. The exciting win clinched the match for SCU.
In addition to Soltyka's performance at No. 6 singles, Osintsev picked up an important 6-3, 7-6 win at No. 2 singles. Veteran Kecki came up big as well, winning in three long sets at No. 3. Khacharyan moved up to No. 5 and stepped up to the challenge, winning 6-2, 6-4.
Santa Clara continued its road match stretch by traveling to Utah for two matches. In the 6-1 victory at Weber State on Feb. 7, a number of Broncos made solid contributions in the winning effort, setting the stage for their first conference contest of 2013.
After downing Weber State in Ogden, Santa Clara faced No. 50 BYU in Provo for the WCC opener. Santa Clara jumped out to a promising start, taking all three doubles matches. The Broncos switched up their doubles lineup and the move paid off immediately with the sweep. The Cougars battled back, however, taking four of six singles matches to secure the win.
Osintsev came up with a big win at No. 2 singles. After dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, Osintsev persevered to take the final two sets (6-3, 6-4) for Santa Clara's second win of the match. Khacharyan picked up the Broncos third and final win with a 7-6, 6-4 final.
Santa Clara returned to the Mission Campus for President's Day weekend and picked up its three wins against Sacramento State, Sonoma State and UC Santa Barbara to finish the month on a high note. In March, the Broncos have nine contests, only one of which is on the road. Their schedule includes conference matches against St. Mary's, LMU, and No. 7 Pepperdine, as well as a matchup against No. 71 Purdue.
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 9-4 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. Khacharyan sports a 12-2 record and at one point had a seven match winning streak.
On Feb. 9 in the WCC opener against BYU, Khacharyan had one of SCU's three wins. In the rematch against Boise State on Feb. 2, 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 so far has followed 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 won two matches in the team's 4-3 victory over UC Irvine, first prevailing 8-6 at No. 3 doubles and then winning 6-4, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. He was also 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.
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.