SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 60 Bronco men's tennis team finished the 2013 regular season by winning their third straight match, tying their season high for consecutive victories. Santa Clara bested Portland in a passionate 5-2 win on Senior Day on April 21, clinched fourth place in the West Coast Conference and honored their three seniors with a brief ceremony on a picturesque day at the Mission Campus. The Broncos secured the fourth seed in the WCC Tournament and will face No. 9 Gonzaga on Wednesday in a first-round matchup.
"I am so proud of my seniors. All three won their singles matches and Mooch [Eugene Muchynski] got the clinch," said Bronco head coach Derek Mills after the win. "It was an awesome day Senior Day with great weather and a big win."
Santa Clara travels to San Diego on Tuesday for the beginning of the WCC Tournament. The Broncos fell in the semifinals 4-3 to USD in 2012. The Broncos will take on the ninth-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs at 12:30 pm on April 24 at the Barnes Tennis Center. The two squads played a competitive match April 19 with Santa Clara squeaking out a 4-3 win.
The winner of Santa Clara and Gonzaga will face either fifth-seeded USF or eighth-seeded LMU in the quarterfinals on April 25 at 12:30 pm. The Broncos defeated both teams in the regular season by 4-3 finals. If the Broncos advance to the semifinals they would take on the tournament's top seed, Pepperdine, ranked No. 8 nationally. The tournament is single elimination and the Championship will take place on Saturday, April 27.
Santa Clara is 16-9 overall and it went 4-4 in regular season WCC matches. The Broncos were 13-3 on their home courts, 1-5 on the road and 2-1 in neutral contests. In 4-3 matches, the Broncos are 6-3 with a current four match winning streak.
In the win over Portland, the Broncos' strong effort netted them a 5-2 final and fourth place finish in the conference. After taking the doubles point each Bronco senior won his match to secure the win, and SCU added another victory later for the final 5-2 margin. Despite a 1-4 start in WCC play, Santa Clara won its remaining three matches.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs finished 7-12 overall and 0-8 in the West Coast Conference in 2013. Gonzaga concluded the season on a five match losing streak, including defeats in 10 of its final 11 contests. After falling to the Broncos on Fri., April 19 in a 4-3 final, Gonzaga came up just short against USF on Sun., April 21 in another 4-3 loss. The Bulldogs also fell 4-3 to LMU on April 6 and by the same score to Portland on February 16.
Gonzaga's number one singles player, Alvaro Nazal, has been a bright spot for the squad in 2013. Nazal completed arguably the most impressive season in Bulldog men's tennis history, smashing the program's single-season wins record. The Santiago, Chile native went 27-8 overall which topped the previous record of 23 wins, and he was 6-2 in WCC matches. He defeated Santa Clara's Lamble in straight sets when the two teams squared off last Friday.
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