On Tuesday, March 3, the UC Riverside men’s tennis team (12-5) took on Villanova University (3-7) and Hope International University (6-5). This match marked the Highlander’s first action in two weeks. Despite the break, the Highlanders were still riding a wave of momentum after a dominant performance on their East Coast road trip, taking home five wins and extending their win streak to six games — a much-needed morale boost going into a doubleheader day.
First up for the Highlanders was the Villanova Wildcats. The Highlanders fought tooth and nail in this one, with the match featuring close doubles contests, and prevailed with a 4-3 victory. UCR secured the win in the No. 1 flight of doubles in a close 7-6 victory in what would be their only doubles victory against Villanova. The disappointing doubles showing would effectively put the Highlanders in a deficit entering their singles matchups.
Senior Nabil Abdallah and freshman Daniel Velek each had standout performances in their singles bouts, with Abdallah decisively taking the No. 2 flight 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. Velek would also come away with a solid 6-3, 6-1 win. In another tight contest, freshman Nikita Horunzhy eked out a victory, 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, after sealing the match in the third set.
The Highlanders would move on to dominate Hope International University where they came away with a 7-0 romp over the Royals. With the victory, UCR extended their win streak to eight games, good for a UCR school record.
Velek continued to shine as he outperformed his opponents, winning the No. 4 flight of singles, in a convincing 6-0, 6-2 victory. Horuznhy, another consistent performer of the day, stepped up his game with an impressive No. 6 spot victory, 6-0, 6-2.
UCR will look to expand on their record-breaking win streak as they gear up for another similarly scheduled doubleheader day on Tuesday, March 10 at home against East Carolina University at 10 a.m. and Bucknell University at 4:30 p.m.