UC San Diego rallies in singles action to down Southern Indiana 5-3
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Five consecutive singles wins led UC San Diego to a 5-3 victory against Southern Indiana in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Championships on Wednesday at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex outside of Phoenix.
UCSD advanced to the quarterfinals and will play West Florida on Thursday. The Tritons are making their 12th NCAA appearance since the 2001 season.
After narrowly dropping all three doubles matches to go down 3-0, UCSD came back with a vengeance in singles play. Three of the five victories came in straight sets.
Starting things off was sophomore Kona Luu, who had no problem dispatching Jack Joyce at No. 5 by scores of 6-2 and 6-4.
The second winner to come off was Camill Salomon in the No. 1 spot. Salomon, ranked 41st nationally, defeated Michael Kuzaj 6-1, 7-5.
Max Jiganti tied the match at three with his 6-2, 7-5 win against Juan Quiroz at No. 2. He was down 5-0 in the second set before coming back to win. Jiganti has been hot all season, posting an overall singles record of 14-5. He has now won eight consecutive matches and nine of his last 10.
The Tritons took their first lead of the day courtesy of Ganesh Alagappan. In his No. 4 matchup against Ben Boesing, he lost the opening set by a 6-4 count. However, he handily won set two by a score of 6-2 and finished Boesing off 6-4 in the deciding frame to put UCSD in front 4-3.
Junior Rajeev Herekar clinched the victory for the Tritons, picking up the team's fifth point with his three-set win against Santiago Lopez at No. 3. Herekar found himself down after dropping the first set 6-3. He took a hard-fought 7-5 win in the second set and then ended it with a 6-4 decision in the third frame.
Freshman Horea Porutiu represented UCSD at No. 6 singles. Against Rodrigo Flores, Porutiu lost the first set 7-6, and won the second 6-2. He was up 2-1 in the third before the match was halted when UCSD secured the deciding fifth point.
At No. 1 doubles, Salomon and sophomore Devon Sousa faced the nation's 25th-ranked team in Kuzaj and Quiroz. The Triton duo was up 8-7 and owned three match points, but eventually fell by a score of 9-8 as their opponents won the tiebreaker by a 7-4 margin.
Jiganti and Luu went up against Boesing and Joyce in the second doubles slot and suffered an 8-2 loss. It was just the fifth setback in 20 decisions this season for them.
At No. 3 doubles, Herekar and sophomore Teddy Truong were nipped 9-7 by Flores and Lopez.