The Dons concluded a two-match sweep in their trip to the Pacific Northwest with a 4-1 victory over the Portland Pilots on Saturday afternoon in Portland, Ore.
In the singles matches, sophomore Nils Skajaa took the first match, a victory of 6-4, 4-2 after his opponent, Reid deLaubenfels, retired in the third set. Sophomore Thomas Takemoto fell behind 2-4 early, but an injury forced his opponent to retire, ceding the victory. Junior Bernardo Saraiva took down Portland’s Michel Hu Kwo in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6, the only true straight set victory of the day.
The Dons fared less well in their doubles matches, going 1-2 with their only victory coming from the pair of Saraiva and Skajaa. The Dons’ dangerous duo felled Portland’s Alex Ferrero and Ratan Gill 8-4. Takemoto and freshman Timothy Tan put up a good fight in their doubles match, but lost to Portland’s duo of Kent Andraesen and deLaubenfels, with a final score of 8-5.
The win gives the Dons (12-12) a .500 record on the year, and helped them improve to 2-6 in the West Coast Conference (WCC).
On Friday, the Dons defeated Gonzaga 5-2 for their first in-conference win of the season. San Francisco recovered after a rocky start that included losses in the two of the three doubles matches. As they did against Gonzaga, Saraiva and Skajaa were able to win their doubles game in this match, but it was not enough to offset the early losses which gave Gonzaga an 1-0 advantage.
Faced with an early deficit, the Dons immediately challenged the Bulldogs’ lead. USF proceeded to win five of their remaining six matches to wrap up the 5-2 team triumph. Saraiva easily disposed of Gonzaga’s Hayden Smith, defeating him handily in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2. Skajaa came back strong in his singles matchup, winning the last two sets over the Bulldogs’ Vladimir Mijatovic in commanding fashion after dropping a 2-6 first set. Adding to the list of convincing Dons wins was junior Johan Samuelsson, who had his way with Vicente Varas in a 6-3, 6-1 victory. The lone blemish on the singles side came in a hard-fought pair of sets that saw Tan drop a 7-6, 7-5 decision to Pablo Mosquera Perez.
The result of the Dons’ final match of conference play, an April 16 face-off with the St. Mary’s Gaels, was not available at press time. USF will now turn its attention to its final two matches before the WCC Championships, which come on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20 against Boise State and Air Force in Boise, Idaho.