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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 9 Arizona men’s tennis win the Diablos College Tennis Invitational

Amelia McAnear

Colton Smith lunges in a doubles match against Pepperdine University on Feb. 3 at the LaNelle Robson Tennis Center. The Wildcats went on to win the match 6-1. 

The No. 9 Arizona men’s tennis team traveled to Tempe, Ariz. to compete in the Diablo College Tennis Invitational at Kiwanis Tennis Center from March 1-3. Arizona (12-2), first took on GCU (2-9) on Friday, March 1, sweeping the Antelopes 4-0 and advancing to the second round of the winner’s bracket. On Saturday, March 2, the Wildcats faced the No. 36 University of Michigan (6-9) and secured a 4-1 victory against the Wolverines. In the championship round, they faced off against No. 15 Michigan State University (14-2) and defeated the Spartans with a 4-1 finish, claiming the invitational title.

Day 1: No. 9 Arizona vs. GCU – Friday, March 1, 5 p.m. 

On the first day of the invitational, it was a rematch between Arizona and GCU. The last meeting between these teams took place on Jan. 14, 2023, which had the Wildcats securing a 7-0 victory over the Antelopes to move their all-time record to 6-0 record against GCU. This trend of dominance continued in this match, as Arizona defeated GCU in a 4-0 victory, moving to 7-0 all-time against the Antelopes.

The Wildcats wasted no time asserting their dominance in the match, securing an early lead by clinching the doubles point. No. 49 Gustaf Strom and Sasha Rozin set the tone early with a 6-3 victory on their respective court. Following suit, No. 11 Colton Smith and Jay Friend clinched their doubles point with a 6-4 win, moving Arizona to a 1-0 lead heading into the singles matches.

The singles competition further showcased the depth of Arizona’s talent. Casper Christensen secured a 6-3, 6-1 victory, extending the lead to 2-0. No. 76 Strom followed his prior performance with another dominant showing of a straight-set win, defeating his opponent 6-1, 6-0. Then, Herman Hoeyeraal came in with back-to-back 6-2 set wins for himself, sealing the deal and giving Arizona its victory against the ’Lopes.

With this win, the Wildcats advanced to the second round, where they faced Michigan on Saturday, March 2.

Day 2: No. 9 Arizona vs. No. 36 Michigan – Saturday, March 2, 5 p.m.

On the second day of the invitational Arizona went up against Michigan and defeated the Wolverines 4-1

Hoeyeraal gave Arizona a 2-0 lead with his precise play, by defeating Will Cooksey 6-3, 6-4 at No. 4 singles. The Wildcats further solidified their advantage as Nick Lagaev delivered a swift victory, pushing Arizona ahead 3-0 with matching 6-1 sets over Bjorn Swenson at No. 5.

Michigan fought back as Nino Ehrenschneider secured a much needed win for the Wolverines, putting them on the board with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over No. 39 ranked Friend. However, the Wildcats remained in control, clinching the final point with Christensen’s performance, topping Nicholas Steiglehner at No. 6 singles in matching 6-3 sets.

In the doubles matches, the duo of Friend and Smith engaged in a competitive back-and-forth contest against Gavin Young and Swenson; however, the match went unfinished at 5-3. Following this, Hoeyeraal and Eric Padgham notched a victory at No. 2 against Cooksey and Jacob Bickersteth with a score of 6-4. Up next, the pair of Rozin and Strom at No. 3 displayed a masterclass display of decisiveness and execution, securing a 6-1 victory over Ehrenschneider and Alex Cairo. This strong performance by Arizona’s doubles teams sealed its victory over Michigan.

With their win, the Wildcats advanced to the championship round of the tournament. On Sunday, March 3, they faced No. 15 Michigan State, positioning themselves as the frontrunners for the Diablo College Tennis Invitational title. 

Day 3: No. 9 Arizona vs. No. 15 Michigan State – Sunday, March 3, 1 p.m. 

Arizona met Michigan State in the championship round of the invitational on Sunday, March 3. Despite the final score, the Wildcats engaged in intense battles in every set, ultimately emerging victorious over the Spartans.

In the doubles matches, Arizona quickly gained an upper hand by clinching the doubles point. Hoeyeraal and Padgham secured a 6-3 victory over Michigan State’s Ozan Baris and Aristotelis Thanos. The Wildcats’ duo of Smith and Friend also contributed to the doubles success with a 6-4 win against Taym Alazmeh and Ronald Hohmann. The final doubles victory came from Rozin and Strom, who displayed impeccable teamwork to secure a 6-3 win over Max Sheldon and Graydon Lair.

Carrying the momentum into singles, Arizona maintained control of the match, securing the first two singles points at No. 5 and No. 6 to take a 3-0 lead in the overall match. Hoeyeraal continued his impressive play, defeating David Saye 6-3, 6-2 at No. 5 singles. Christensen added to the Wildcats’ success with a back-to-back 6-3 victory over Alazmeh at No. 6 singles. However, Baris responded with a win of his own at No. 2 singles, putting the Spartans on the scoreboard. Despite the win, the Wildcats were able to seal the victory as Smith secured a hard-fought win against #19 Hohmann at No. 1 singles, closing out the championship match with a 4-1 victory.

Looking ahead: 

The Wildcats will stay on the road and travel to Illinois to face Eastern Illinois University on Saturday, March 9 at 2 p.m. and will then go on to face the University of Illinois on Sunday, March 10 at 1 p.m. at Atkins Tennis Center. 

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