May 8, 2001
The Santa Clara University men's tennis team recently completed its season, posting a 15-9 record for the second straight season and placing third at the West Coast Conference Tournament. Under eight-year head coach Sean Burns, the Broncos' notched their fifth straight winning season and began the year with a national ranking for the first time in program history. A few season highlights:
Matt Cox, the squad's only senior this season, earned first team All-West Coast Conference honors after leading the team to a third-place finish at this year's Championship. In fact, the Broncos have finished in the top four in each of Cox's years on the squad. He finished the season with double-digit wins in singles and doubles, with most of his action in the top positions. Cox cemented his place in Bronco annals, as his 55 career victories ties him at fifth place on the all-time list. He shares the honors with 2000 alumnus Lars Nelson and 1988 graduates Tony Del Rosario and Frank Seitz. He's also fifth all-time on the doubles charts, posting a 51-38 record in four seasons with various partners.
The Broncos were ranked 75th heading into the 2001 season, marking the first preseason ranking ever for the program. Santa Clara peaked at No. 69 in March 21 edition of the WingspanBank.com Collegiate Rankings, administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. The Broncos finish in 2000 earned the program's first national ranking ever, debuting in the national polls at No. 57.
This year's schedule featured eleven opponents that had stints in the national rankings, highlighted by a meeting at second-ranked TCU. Winning three of those matches, (vs. Sacramento State, U.S. Air Force and Pacific), the Broncos are showing the collegiate tennis world they belong with the nation's best.
The Broncos went 10-1 this season at home, including the program's first victory over UC Santa Barbara, but not overlooking one over Cal Poly, SCU's first in more than a decade. The only team to leave the Santa Clara Tennis Center with a victory was 23rd-ranked Fresno State. In fact, the Broncos are 19-1 in the last two regular seasons on the mission courts.
In addition to Cox's all-conference honors in singles, sophomores Ryan Livesay and Michael Bruggemann earned first team All-WCC honors in doubles, going 15-9 at the No. 1 position for the Broncos. The duo went 19-12 overall, the best single-season mark in SCU history. The tandem also gained the program's first-ever victory over a ranked doubles team, an 8-6 victory over California's Kintz and Barnes, ranked 31st at the March meeting.
The underclassmen made their mark in the season leaders list for singles victories. Sophomore Federico Mattioli claimed the new top spot, winning 22 matches, including three impressive wins against ranked players from TCU, Arizona State and Washington. Freshman Michael Duong's 19-13 mark ties for fifth-best all-time, and fellow newcomer Erich Chen's 17-17 record ties for 10th on the chart.
Head coach Sean Burns was already Santa Clara's winningest coach in men's tennis history when the season began, but he reached a plateau no other coach has topped before when his team defeated San Francisco 7-0 on February 3. The three-time WCC Coach of the Year notched his 100th career victory and now holds a 112-83 record after eight seasons on the mission campus.