No. 32 Santa Clara Put 17-4 Record on the Line, Host Two WCC Foes In Pivotal Weekend
by Brandon Rebboah '13
NOTE: Please make sure to check at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com for any changes to the schedule this weekend due to the predicted bad weather. The San Diego match has been switched to Sun., April 15 at Noon due to bad weather in the area on Friday.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After posting a 2-0 record last week, No. 32 Santa Clara enters a vital week with two home league matches. The Broncos host WCC opponents No. 19 San Diego and Saint Mary's at the Degheri Tennis Center as they try to improve on their 3-1 WCC record. The Broncos will also celebrate Senior Day on Saturday. The three seniors on the roster will be congratulated on their time in a Bronco uniform between the doubles and singles portion against St. Mary's on Sat., Mar. 14.
This Week's Matches
No. 32 Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary's • Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 1 p.m.
No. 32 Santa Clara vs. No. 19 USD • Degheri Tennis Center (Santa Clara, Calif.) • 12 p.m.
The Broncos (17-4; 3-1) picked up wins over two opponents last week and have won 10 of their last 11 dual matches. Santa Clara's lone loss during that span is their only WCC loss at then-No. 7 Pepperdine. Last week, Santa Clara downed USF to notch its third WCC victory and bested then-No. 49 Cal Poly 6-1.
The Broncos jumped up two spots in this week's rankings, moving up to No. 32. The Broncos continue to battle against some of the NCAA's best programs. Including this coming weekend, the Broncos have played 10 ranked opponents this season. So far, they have won won six out of 9 of those matches, falling only to then-No. 6 Stanford, then-No. 33 Fresno State and then-No. 7 Pepperdine. The Broncos have picked up marquee wins over ranked teams such as Boise State, TCU, UNLV, BYU and Cal Poly.
Junior Tom Pham is having a phenomenal season for Santa Clara. He recorded 16-straight victories to open the spring before falling in the BYU dual match. This spring he is 19-2. He leads the team with 19 victories this spring.
Sophomore John Lamble has been Santa Clara's No. 2 singles player in almost every dual match. He has accrued 19 total victories since the beginning of the fall. Eugene Muchynski has 16 total victories and has won 15 of his last 16 contests. Nico Vinel has proven to be a reliable in the No. 3 singles position. Vinel, a senior from France, is currently boasting a two-match winning streak.
Freshman Ilya Osintsev is having a tremendous first year for the Broncos. Since arriving on the Mission Campus, Osintsev has bolstered the singles and doubles rosters for Santa Clara. In singles, Osintsev has won 14 straight singles matches and has not lost since Jan. 27 against Boise State.
The Broncos' match against Saint Mary's will be Senior Day, in which three members of the Bronco squad will be commended for their service to the Santa Clara men's tennis program. All three seniors, Kyle Dandan, Nicolas Vinel and Maxime Armenguad, will be recognized.
The Fantastic Duo
In doubles, Osintsev and Lamble are the reigning WCC Doubles Players of the Month after producing an impressive March. Osintsev and Lamble have played together in every dual match dating back to Feb. 24 and have served as the No. 1 doubles tandem. During the month of March, Osintsev and Lamble have accrued a 7-1 record including an upset win over the ITA's No. 2 doubles tandem of Alex Llompart and Finn Tearney of Pepperdine. Osintsev and Lamble defeated the nation's No. 2 tandem 7-5. On their way to a 7-1 record during March, the tandem won five straight matches. Overall on the year, the duo is 10-8.
Super Senior Kyle Dandan
On March 27, the ITA ranked Bronco senior Kyle Dandan as the No. 111 singles player. Playing as the Broncos' primary No. 1 singles player, Dandan has consistently faced opponents' top players. A native of the Philippines, Dandan has played four opponents in the top-50, while being able to edge then-No. 31, now No. 29, Ryan Thatcher of Stanford. Most recently, Dandan handily defeated No. 20 Andre Dome of Cal Poly to add a marquee victory to his resume. He has garnered WCC honors in each of his first three seasons and has helped the Broncos off to a 15-4 start this season.
The senior has played all of his matches in the No. 1 position while amassing a 14-8 record.
Dandan made an appearance on the regionally-televised COMCAST halftime show of the Santa Clara men's basketball game vs. Pepperdine. Dandan and women's tennis player Katie Le both appeared with Comcast's Ted Robinson to talk about Bronco tennis during the Pepperdine game on Feb. 23. Ted Robinson is one of the analysts who works doing TV at the French Open and Wimbledon.
The Toreros enter the week at No. 19 in the nation. As of Monday, Apr. 9, San Diego is 15-6 overall and 3-1 in WCC play. To begin league play, USD notched three-straight victories before falling to No. 7 Pepperdine. Before playing the Broncos, the Toreros will travel to Moraga, Calif. to battle Saint Mary's. The USD roster is a blend of youth and experience. They have three upperclassmen and seven lowerclassmen, including five freshmen. San Diego is led by the ITA's No. 68 singles player, Nikola Bubnic who is 18-5 overall. Bubnic is currently riding a nine-match winning streak. In doubles, Bubnic and Thibaut Visy team up to be the most effective Torero tandem. The duo is 11-8 overall and plays in both the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles spots. Although three years younger, USD freshman Victor Pugliese attended the same prep school as Santa Clara senior Maxime Armenguad, CNED, in France.
The Gaels enter the week still looking for their first league victory. Saint Mary's is currently 4-15 on the year and 0-5 in the WCC. Individually, Maxime Olivan leads the Gaels with nine victories in singles. In doubles, Seif El Sherbini and Sharif Hamdy, both international players from Egypt, have amassed seven doubles victories. The Gaels will host USD on Thurs., Apr 12 before making the short trip to the Mission Campus.
Santa Clara has already been setting all-time marks this season. Earlier this season, Santa Clara posted an all-time school-best at No. 29. The ranking was the second all-time high in the last few weeks. Additionally, the Broncos began the season at a school-best No. 50 in the ITA rankings, the highest ever to begin the season. The doubles tandem of Vinel/Dandan opened the fall with the best-ever doubles ranking in school history as the nation's No. 29 tandem.
The Bronco tennis program has players and coaches from seven countries, including players from five countries and two international coaches. The SCU team boasts players from five different countries including the U.S., France, Japan, Russia and the Philippines. The coaching staff is also a mix of internationals including first-year assistant coach, Jose Hilla who is from Oviedo, Spain and third-year assistant Jakub Cech is from Prague, Czech Republic.
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Be sure to check back to SantaClaraBroncos.com this weekend for a recaps from Southern California.