Tennis teams suffer first round exits in Big West Tennis Championships


The UC Riverside tennis program had a daunting task in front of them as they headed to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to compete in the Big West Conference Championship: win a match as the overwhelming underdog. Seeded near the bottom of the conference standings, the men’s and women’s tennis teams couldn’t muster a victory and were bounced in the first round of the tournament. The men’s tennis team lost to nationally-ranked and second-seeded Cal Poly, 4-0, while the women’s championship campaign was halted by seventh-seeded UC Davis, 4-0.

The men’s team, anchored by head coach Tim Downey, started the championship tournament with consecutive losses in doubles, which resulted in the Mustangs claiming the doubles point. The duo of Jimmy Roberts and Marcus Vizcarra was defeated 8-2 before teammates Luis Gastao and Calvin Ngo were dismissed 8-5, giving Cal Poly the doubles triumph. The Highlanders needed to win four of the six singles matches to advance past to the second round. The Mustangs, however, stopped any chance of that proposition happening with three straight set victories, which gave Cal Poly the win and a berth into the second round. Vizcarra, Roberts and Julian Ruffin all faltered in their matches, winning only a combined six games.

The 10th-seeded women’s tennis team didn’t fare any better as they were trounced by UC Davis. The Highlanders were competitive in doubles, but ultimately lost the point behind two losses. In singles, UCR couldn’t weather the Aggies’ storm as Highlanders Natalie McKay, Courtney Pattugalan and Bergeson were all defeated in straight sets, which handed UC Davis the win and ended the Highlanders’ chance at a Big West title.

Both of the UC Riverside tennis teams ended their seasons with a combined four wins on the season. The men’s team led by senior Jimmy Roberts concluded the year with a 3-21 record overall and struggled against a strong Big West Conference field. The women’s tennis team ends their 2012-2013 campaign with only one win on the season, but will look to improve upon that mark for next season.

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