SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The No. 59 Santa Clara men's tennis team finished the 2014 regular season fourth in the WCC standings and received the No. 4 seed in the WCC Tournament, beginning on Wednesday. The Broncos wrapped up the dual match season with back-to-back shutout wins over Pacific and St. Mary's last weekend, and finished 5-4 in conference matches.
In its first-round contest, Santa Clara faces St. Mary's on Wed., Apr. 23 at 9am. The Gaels were 8-12 overall and 3-6 in the West Coast Conference during the regular season.
The WCC tournament will be held at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. The top three seeds are No. 44 San Diego (9-0), No. 51 Pepperdine (8-1), and Portland (5-4).
Santa Clara notched a 15-6 mark during the 2014 regular season. The Broncos were 12-2 at home, 2-4 on the road, and 1-0 at neutral sites.
Over the weekend, Santa Clara closed out the dual match campaign on a strong note, blanking Pacific and St. Mary's, 4-0.
On Saturday, the Broncos played well and beat Pacific on Senior Day. SCU made an impressive comeback to win the doubles point in two tiebreaks and they earned three decisive singles victories. In the last home match of his career, Bronco senior John Lamble earned the clinching victory for his 80th career singles win.
"I liked the way the team really fought back after being down in doubles," said Bronco head coach Derek Mills after the win. "We showed a lot of character by staying with it and not giving up, and being able to finish on the big points. It was great to see John Lamble clinch the match in the last home match of his career. It was great to get the win heading into the conference tournament next week."
On Friday, the Broncos downed St. Mary's behind strong performances from No. 2 and 3 doubles, a dominating 6-1, 6-2 win from the Lamble, and two other singles victories.
In doubles, the Broncos are led by Lamble and Ilya Osintsev. The pair finished the regular season with an outstanding 14-2 dual match mark, and was named All-WCC Doubles First Team. Lamble and Osintsev have 37 total victories across their Santa Clara doubles career together, which is the second-most victories by one team in program history. The duo was named All-WCC Honorable Mention in 2013 as well.
In the second doubles spot, Santa Clara starts Ashot Khacharyan and Mikheil Khmiadashvili. The two underclassman clinched the doubles point against Pacific with a thrilling comeback win. After becoming partners mid-way through the season, the tandem went 4-3. The righty-lefty team also won a huge match against No. 39 Oregon, securing the doubles point with an 8-6 final in the Broncos' upset victory.
Santa Clara's No. 3 doubles position features a pair of junior transfers, Sam Bertram and Michael Tjuatjadarma. The tandem went 3-3 after joining forces in late March, and won several important matches.
In singles, Lamble leads the Broncos' charge for the second straight season. The senior, who is one of the most prolific players in program history, has been terrific this year with a 14-1 dual match record and 20-4 mark overall. With 80 career singles wins, Lamble is second all-time behind former teammate Tom Pham, who went 89-28. Lamble earned All-WCC First Team honors in singles for the second consecutive year.
Osintsev, the No. 2 singles player, was named to the All-WCC Second Team in singles. He is an exceptional 12-1 during the regular season and 15-3 including the fall. The junior, who is the reigning WCC Player of the Week, picked up one of the Broncos' biggest individual wins this season in the team's 4-2 upset of No. 39 Oregon, earning a 7-5, 7-6 win over No. 59 Robin Cambier.
In the third position, Khacharyan sports a strong 14-6 record in his sophomore campaign. The righty from Sochi, Russia was named Honorable Mention by the WCC in singles. Khacharyan tallied a 14-2 record as a freshman last season.
At No. 4, Khmiadashvili has 12 wins against just five losses. The lefty from Tbilisi, Georgia has been a solid contributor throughout his freshman year.
Doubles partners Bertram and Tjuatjadarma have combined to play most of the matches in the No. 5 and No. 6 positions during the second half of the season. Bertram is 12-8 in his first year as a Bronco, and Tjuatjadarma is 1-3.