SANTA CLARA, Calif.- After an excellent 2012 season with numerous program records and a first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, the Bronco men's tennis team posted a strong 17-10 overall record and 13-3 mark at home in 2013. The squad was ranked nationally and finished at No. 68 in the country. The Broncos kick off the 2014 campaign at No. 73 in the preseason rankings, return three of their top five players from last season and look to contend in the competitive West Coast Conference.
The Broncos' first opportunity to build on the program's recent success will be on Sat., Jan. 18th at 11am when the Broncos welcome UC Davis to the Mission Campus. The team will travel to USC to participate in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend Tournament on Sat., Jan. 25th and Sun., Jan. 26th. USC will provide a strong test for Santa Clara, as it is ranked No. 4 nationally. The winner will take on either No. 62 Georgia St. or No. 61 Wichita St.
After returning from Southern California, the Broncos will have five home matches in February against non-conference opponents. The highlights include No. 49 San Diego State and New Mexico, ranked one spot ahead of Santa Clara at No. 72.
The Broncos will begin West Coast Conference play and head back on the road in early March, as they take on Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The Broncos will also face USF in San Francisco against a lively Dons squad.
The final month of the season could prove important for the Broncos, as they face several competitive teams and conference opponents. Over spring break in late March, SCU will travel to LMU before going up against Pepperdine, ranked No. 13.
In early April, the Broncos will take on No. 40 San Diego, No. 45 BYU, and No. 52 Oregon at home. After heading up north to battle Portland, Santa Clara faces local rivals St. Mary's and Pacific at home which will wrap up the regular season. The Broncos will then compete in the WCC Tournament and they hope to reach the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
Lamble, a senior from Saratoga, Calif., looks to finish his outstanding career at Santa Clara on a strong note. He is ranked No. 5 in the Northwest singles rankings. Last year as a junior, Lamble was named First Team All-WCC. He finished second on the teams in wins (20-14 overall) and played No. 1 singles for the Broncos. In the fall season, Lamble earned a singles record of 7-3. His 67 total singles wins are tied for fourth in program history, and he has an impressive overall record of 67-34.
Additionally, Lamble seeks to continue his doubles success with Ilya Osintsev. Last year, the dynamic duo went 10-6 while playing as the Broncos' top doubles team. The pair's 23 wins are tied for fifth in Santa Clara men's tennis history. Lamble and Osintsev are No. 9 in the Northwest regional rankings for doubles.
The junior from Novosibirsk, Russia looks to build on his solid contributions as an underclassman. Osintsev posted a singles record of 12-14 as the Broncos' primary No. 2 player last season, following a 20-3 rookie campaign where he was named WCC Freshman of the Year. In doubles, Osintsev has been an asset atop the Broncos' lineup with Lamble, and the righty-lefty duo is one of the toughest in the league.
During the fall season, the Russian posted a record of 3-2. He won 6-4, 6-4 over USC's Max de Vroome, who went 27-12 in singles last season and won all three matches in the NCAA Tournament. He also defeated strong players from USD and Cal. Additionally, Osintsev and Lamble reached the doubles quarterfinals of the Battle of the Bay Classic before falling to a tandem from No. 46 Boise State.
Khacharyan strives to build on his strong 2013 season. Last year, the Sochi, Russia native flourished as a freshman, racking up a 14-2 record in his first year on the Mission campus. He did not drop a match from Jan. 26th through Mar. 1st, capturing seven straight wins in the process. The win streak included triumphs over foes from No. 38 Boise State and No. 50 BYU. Khacharyan also appeared in the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles positions during the season.
During 2013 fall play, the righty posted a record of 2-2. He reached the quarterfinals of the Aggie Invitational at UC Davis by defeating Jamin Ball of Stanford 6-1, 2-1 (retired) and Niranjan Ram of Sacramento State 6-4, 6-2.
In his first season on the squad, Chun contributed several big doubles wins while energizing the team and stepping into the lineup. He made five singles appearances all at No. 6 and made his NCAA debut against Saint Mary's. In doubles, the Hawaiian played in five matches at the No. 3 position. He helped pick up a key 8-6 doubles win over UC Irvine, contributing to the team's 4-3 victory. Chun and his partner also turned in a strong 8-4 win over Northern Arizona for Chun's second victory of the season.
The Broncos welcomed four new members to the team: Sam Bertram, Mikheil Khmiadashvilli, Jesse Ross and Michael Tjuatjadarma. Bertram joined the Broncos after playing his first two seasons at Fresno City College. At Fresno City, Bertram won the state title in singles and was the runner-up in doubles. This fall, Bertram reached the quarterfinals of the Aggie Invitational by knocking off Ayman Abdulwahab of Sacramento State 6-4, 6-3. In doubles, he was a semifinalist at the UC Davis Invitational while paired with Ashot Khacharyan. He also advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Northwest Regional with John Lamble.
Ross is from Ventura, Calif. and will be making his freshman debut with the Broncos. He attended Laurel Springs High School in Ojai, Calif. Ross, who stands at 6-5, was the No. 9 singles player in Southern California. The 4 star recruit was also ranked No. 85 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net.
Khmiadashvilli is from Tbilisi, Georgia and is also a freshman. In high school, he attended Saint Dimitry Kipiani School. Khmiadashvilli competed for the Georgian Davis Cup team in Bulgaria in 2012 and reached an ITF ranking of 224. His highest ATP singles ranking is 1855, and in doubles his top ATP ranking is 1189. He also achieved a U-16 ranking in Europe of No. 6, and was ranked fourth in singles in Georgia, and second in doubles, according to the ATP rankings.
Tjuatjadarma joins the Broncos' squad after two years at nearby DeAnza College. He was a quarterfinalist in the state championship while playing at DeAnza. Tjuatjadarma attended Jubilee High School in Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2009, the SCU Finance major won the Fergana Cup in Uzbekistan, was a singles runner-up at the 39th Brunei ITF Circuit, and was a doubles semifinalist at the Malaysia ITF World Junior Tennis Championship.
The Santa Clara men's tennis team is also excited to have a new addition to its coaching staff. After coaching at WCC-rival Loyola Marymount for four seasons, Aaron Paajanen is the new assistant coach for Bronco head coach Derek Mills. Along with assistant coach Rudy Siwy, Paajanen will be helping with all aspects of the program. Read more about Paajanen here.
Be sure to check out SantaClaraBroncos.com for more on the beginning of the Broncos' 2014 campaign. Stay up to date with everything Santa Clara men's tennis on Facebook.