Aztecs capture doubles point, three singles matches
Photo: Sander Gjoels-Andersen provided the clinching win on Sunday in the Aztecs' win at New Mexico. Courtesy goaztecs.com
April 16, 2017 (Alberquerque) - San Diego State won its second straight on Sunday with a satisfying 4-2 triumph over New Mexico in a Mountain West dual match at McKinnon Family Tennis Stadium. With the victory, the Aztecs raise their record to 7-14 on the season and 3-3 in conference play, while the Lobos slip to 10-12 overall and 3-3 in the Mountain West.
“This was an amazing team effort,” said SDSU head coach Gene Carswell. “I couldn’t be happier for our players. It takes a lot to come up here and compete at elevation, but we were ready to play this weekend [at Air Force and New Mexico].”
For the first time in six matches, the Aztecs emerged with the doubles point after senior Marko Goles-Babic and freshman David Hough provided the clinching win with a 6-3 conquest of Jorge Escuita and Sean Baklini in the No. 3 position. Earlier, the pairing of senior Milen Ianakiev and junior Santiago Cevallos got the Scarlet and Black off on the right foot with a 6-1 rout of Lawrence Perrin and Ricky Hernandez-Tong in the No. 1 spot. Meanwhile, the No. 2 tandem of sophomore Sander Gjoels-Andersen and freshman Nicholas Mitchell were knotted at 4-4 in their encounter with Bart Van Leijsen and Dominic West before the match was abandoned.
Buoyed by its good fortune, SDSU maintained the momentum in singles competition, with Goles-Babic dismissing Van Leijsen by a 6-1, 6-3 count at center court to give the visitors a 2-0 advantage in the team scoreboard.
Moments later, UNM fought back with victories in the second and sixth spots, respectively, to tie the dual at 2-2 after Ianakiev fell victim to Hernandez-Tong, 6-1, 6-3, while Hough suffered a 6-3, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Baklini.
However, the Aztecs flashed their resiliency with a pair of three-set wins to squelch the Lobos’ comeback hopes. SDSU reclaimed the lead after Cevallos outlasted Perrin in the No. 4 position, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3, while Gjoels-Andersen provided the clinching point at No. 2 with a come-from-behind victory over West, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“I was very proud of Sander and how he responded to early adversary,” Carswell said. “The way he closed out his match today speaks a lot about his determination and character. Marko also displayed great leadership at the top and Santiago finished strong, too”
The lone remaining singles match was left unfinished as freshman Joel Popov held a slim 5-4 lead in the third set of his encounter with Escutia at No. 5 after splitting the first two, 6-0, 3-6.
San Diego State returns to the friendly environs of Aztec Tennis Center next weekend when it plays host to Santa Clara (April 21) and UNLV (April 22) in its final two home match of the regular season.
“I like the brand of tennis that we’re playing right now,” Carswell concluded. “There’s a lot of fight left in us, and we still have a lot to play for as we prepare for our next two matches and the conference tournament.”
San Diego State 4. New Mexico 2
April 16, 2017
McKinnon Family Tennis Center
1. Santiago Cevallos/Milen Ianakiev (SDSU) def. Lawrence Perrin/Ricky Hernandez-Tong (UNM), 6-1
2. Sander Gjoels-Andersen/Nicholas Mitchell (SDSU) vs. Bart Van Leijsen/Dominic West (UNM), 4-4, DNF
3. Marko Goles-Babic/David Hough (SDSU) def. Jorge Escutia/Sean Baklini (UNM), 6-3
Order of finish: 1, 3
SDSU wins doubles point
1. Marko Goles-Babic (SDSU) def. Bart Van Leijsen, (UNM), 6-1, 6-3
2. Ricky Hernandez-Tong (UNM) def. Milen Ianakiev (SDSU), 6-1, 6-3
3. Sander Gjoels-Andersen (SDSU) def. Dominic West (UNM) 3-6, 6-1, 6-2
4. Santiago Cevallos (SDSU) def. Lawrence Perrin (UNM), 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
5. Joel Popov (SDSU) vs. Jorge Escutia (UNM), 6-0, 3-6, 5-4, DNF
6. Sean Baklini (UNM) def. David Hough (SDSU), 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: 1, 2, 6, 4, 3*
* - Match-clinching victory
SDSU (7-14, 3-3 MW); New Mexico (10-12, 3-3 MW)