(Courtesy of San Diego Media Relations)
LOS ANGELES, Calif.-The No. 21 University of San Diego men's tennis team (23-5) concluded their historic season Friday afternoon at the Marks Tennis Stadium in the first round of the NCAA Championships. The Toreros were narrowly ousted by crosstown rival and 40th-ranked San Diego State (19-8) in a 4-3 contest. The squad ends their run with their fifth-straight NCAA appearance, while claiming the highest winning percentage in USD history at .821% (previous, .818 1980).
As doubles commenced, No. 52 junior Jordan Angus and Filip Vittek came out the gate with fire. The pair dominated against No. 71 Freddy Gelbrich and Hendrik Jebens at the No. 1 spot 8-1. Sophomore Alexandros Araouzos and senior Ciaran Fitzgerald carried that momentum with a comfortable victory over Aztecs' Santiago Cevallos and Marko Goles Babic 8-4 at the No. 3 spot to clinch the point.
The Aztecs managed to turn their fortune around in singles -- picking up points at the No. 5 and 2 positions. Angus, who claims the second-most singles victories on the Toreros' squad at 24-8, answered for USD defeating Aztecs' Marko Goles-Babic 6-3, 7-6(8). Junior Uros Petronijevic and West Coast Conference Player of the Year followed, taking down San Diego State's No. 121 Freddy Gelbrich 7-6(5), 6-3. This was Petronijevic's ninth consecutive singles victory.
Although Kalaydijan came back in the second set, Aztecs' Thorsten Bertsch edged the junior 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 to equalize the score to 3-3.
Lone senior Fitzgerald competed in nothing less than a battle for the deciding match. Coming back from a set down, the Irishman found himself in a neck and neck tiebreaker. Although leaving everything on the court, San Diego State's Santiago Cevallos narrowly secured the victory in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(3) decision.
Fitzgerald (Greystones, Ireland), known for both his hard work and "never give up" attitude, leaves his mark on the Torero program as he ends his collegiate career. Fitzgerald has endured an incredible doubles career, claiming a winning record for four-straight seasons. The Irishman has been recognized as the 2014 All-WCC Doubles Honorable Mention, West Coast Conference Doubles Team of the week with partner Andrew Raphaelson (March 13, 2014), and has been selected to the 2015 WCC All-Tournament Team with partner sophomore Geoffrey Fosso. In his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons Fitzgerald has only dropped a total of four matches against league opponents in both singles and doubles. Fitzgerald's performance against conference play has clearly contributed to the Toreros' undefeated mark against league competition and their back-to-back WCC Championship titles in the last two seasons.
The Toreros, who finish the season with a 23-5 overall record, will return everyone next season except for senior Ciaran Fitzgerald. Juniors Uros Petronijevic and Jordan Angus, and sophomore Filip Vittek continue in the postseason as they were named as at-large selections for the field of 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams to compete in the 2015 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 20-25 at the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 14-10). Baylor University will serve as host.
NCAA Championships -- First Round
San Diego (23-5) vs. San Diego State (19-8)
#40 San Diego State 4 def. #21 San Diego 3
#52 Jordan Angus/Filip Vittek (USD) def. #71 Freddy Gelbrich/Hendrik Jebens (SDSU) 8-1
Romain Kalaydjian/Uros Petronijevic (USD) vs. Thorsten Bertsch/Jonas Meinzer (SDSU) 4-5, unfinished
Alexandros Araouzos/Ciaran Fitzgerlad (USD) def. Santiago Cevallos/Marko Goles-Babic (SDSU) 8-4
#56 Uros Petronijevic (USD) def. #121 Freddy Gelbrich (SDSU) 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
Hendrik Jebens (SDSU) def. #72 Filip Vittek (USD) 6-4, 6-3
Jordan Angus (USD) def. Marko Goles-Babic (SDSU) 6-3, 7-6 (10-8)
Thorsten Bertsch (SDSU) def. Romain Kalaydjian (USD) 7-5, 1-6, 7-5
Milen Ianakiev (SDSU) def. Geoffrey Fosso (USD) 6-0, 6-1
Santiago Cevallos (SDSU) def. Ciaran Fitzgerald (USD) 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 3*); Singles (5, 2, 3, 1, 4, 6*)