The University of New Mexico men's tennis team beat the University of the Pacific 4-1 in Stockton, California on Friday, but then saw their four-match unbeaten run come to an end in a 6-1 loss to Santa Clara University on Sunday.
For UNM, the match against the University of the Pacific was the first of several matches to be played against California opposition this season. The match also proved an important opportunity for the Lobos; a chance to beat a team from California—something the Lobos were unable to do in the nine matches played against California opposition last season.
The Lobos started on the front foot, taking an early lead against the Tigers through doubles wins from senior duo Bart Van Leijsen and senior Jorge Escutia on court one, and from freshman Stepan Holis and senior Sean Baklini on court three.
The early UNM momentum continued into singles play. Baklini won his match on court six against sophomore Chris Cajigan 6-2, 6-1, and on court 1, Van Leijsen battled to beat freshman Mikayel Khachatryan 6-4, 7-6 (10-6).
The Tigers managed to pull a point back through Bernardo Oliveira’s 6-4, 6-2 victory over Holis on court four, but sophomore Dominic West’s hard fought 7-6 (10-4), 6-4 win on court two sealed the overall victory for the Lobos.
UNM had a day of rest before traveling south to Santa Clara. A victory against the Broncos would have extended UNM’s unbeaten run to five matches.
But the Broncos had other ideas in mind.
The Santa Clara doubles duo of Vasileios Iliopoulos and Jesus Barajas, after surviving three match points, beat Escutia and junior Michael Tran 7-6 (7-3) to gift the doubles point to the Broncos.
And in singles play, the Broncos went rampant.
Santa Clara won the first five singles matches, and Andrew Gu’s 7-5, 6-1 win over Van Leijsen sealed the 6-1 victory for the home side.
"It was a fantastic team win today,” Santa Clara head coach Niall Angus said in a release. “To win against a team like New Mexico, who played a top-20 team in Texas Tech and lost 4-3 and beat Pacific on Friday, 4-1, shows the capabilities of this team.”
The Lobos will have a two week break before their next pair of fixtures. They will host the University of Utah on Friday, Feb. 23 and on the 25th UC Santa Barbara.
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The Utes (9-1) and are unbeaten in their last four matches and have only conceded two points since their most recent loss. Santa Barbara (3-2) is still early into its season, and is coming off of a 4-3 loss to the University of San Diego.
The match against the University of Utah will begin at 3 p.m. and the match on Sunday against UC Santa Barbara will begin at noon. Both matches will be held at the McKinnon Family Tennis Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Matthieu Cartron is a sports beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers women’s soccer and men’s tennis. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @cartron_matt.