Both the men’s and women’s teams capped off their winning seasons last weekend at the West Coast Conference Championships at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif. Each team advanced to the quarterfinal round but was eliminated thereafter.
On Thursday, April 24, coming off of a shocking sweep over No. 5 seeded Loyola Marymount, the men’s team faced the fourth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos in quarterfinals play. The Dons fell to the Broncos by a final score of 4-0.
USF, which entered the championships as the No. 8 seed, opened the day with doubles contests against the Broncos. In the second match, redshirt junior James Tallman and freshman Timothy Tan came from behind to win. They defeated the Santa Clara duo of Ashot Khacharyan and Mikheil Khmiadashvili by a score of 8-7(4). Their efforts would go unsupported, however, as the Dons lost the first and third doubles matches, as well as the overall doubles point. In singles action, the Dons were defeated in all three completed matches.
The previous day, the Dons outpaced and upset the No. 5 seed Loyola Marymount Lions. USF was not expected to seriously challenge and much less eliminate the Lions, but they did so by way of a 4-1 victory.
In the doubles matches, the Dons set the pace early by pulling off very close wins against the Lions. Junior Bernardo Saraiva and sophomore Nils Skajaa defeated Sebastian Bustamante and Todd Volmari of LMU by a slim margin of 8-6, while senior Germain Bahri and sophomore Thomas Takemoto took a close 8-7(7) win over Daniel Simko and Othar Kordsachia to earn the doubles point.
In singles play, Saraiva, Tallman, and Bahri all won their respective matchups to deliver USF the 4-1 triumph.
The men ended their season with a winning record of 15-14, giving them back-to-back winning seasons. Bahri, playing in his last two matches as a Don, was named to the Men’s Singles WCC All-Tournament Team.
“I’m proud that Germain [Bahri] could finish his career by competing with a lot of pride at the end,” head coach Pablo Pires de Almeida told usfdons.com.
The sixth-seeded women’s team put together a great performance in their sweep against No. 7 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs in the first round of action, but were downed 4-0 in quarterfinals play by the Saint Mary’s Gaels.
USF was a step slow against No. 3 seed Gaels, and no Don in the entire match was able to summon a win. Sophomore Andrea Ka had been on a tear late in the season, but she met her match in a 6-0, 6-2 singles loss against the Gaels’ Jenny Jullien, who came into the match ranked ninth in the country.
In the first round against the Bulldogs, the Dons earned their seventh shutout of the season. After falling 8-2 in the first doubles match, the Dons roared back to take the doubles point from the Bulldogs.
Ka and junior Marina Nikolic defeated Kylie Peek and Samantha Polayes of Gonzaga by the score of 8-3. In the next match, sophomore Sofia Holmberg and freshman Thyra Taune secured the doubles point for the Dons with a score of 8-7(2).
In singles matches, Nikolic defeated Alexandra Tallas by a score of 6-3, 6-2, Ka won her match 6-1, 6-4 over her opponent, and freshman Genevieve McCloskey defeated Isabell Klingert 7-6(7), 6-2.
With their quarterfinals exit, the Dons ended the season at 16-8, and 4-5 in the WCC. Ka took home All-WCC Singles First Team honors, Nikolic was named to the second team, and Taune was given the Freshman of the Year award. With no seniors currently on the roster, the young squad is expected to return in full force for the 2014-15 season.