The Idaho men’s tennis team kept its unbeaten record intact as it took down two regional foes in Spokane on Saturday.
The Vandals defeated Whitworth University 7-0 Saturday morning, then capped off their trip with a 4-2 win against Gonzaga University in the afternoon. Idaho improved to 5-0 on the season.
“The guys had a good weekend, with all members of the team picking up at least one win in one of the two matches,” coach Jeff Beaman said.
Idaho swept the singles competitions against Whitworth (0-4) with each Vandal winning in straight sets. Senior Marius Cirstea won the No. 1 singles match, sophomore Cesar Torres won at No. 2 and senior Ivan Krijanto won at No. 3. The rest of the singles competitions marked the spring debut for three Vandals. Senior Filip Fichtel won at No. 4, freshman Matt Oddonetto won at No. 5 and senior Jake Knox won at No. 6.
Idaho also won all three doubles competitions against the Pirates. Senior Abid Akbar and Cirstea, ranked No. 46 nationally among doubles pairings, won their No. 1 doubles match 8-2. Knox and Krijanto also won 8-2 at No. 2 and Fichtel and Oddonetto earned an 8-1 victory at No.3.
“The Whitworth match was a great opportunity to get all our guys into an actual match,” Beaman said. “We have guys on our roster that would be playing up in the lineup at many Division I schools, but with our strength and depth this year there are not a lot of chances to keep everybody match-tough.”
Gonzaga (4-2) proved to be a tougher test for Idaho. Bulldogs Alvaro Nazal and Pablo Mosquera defeated sophomore Dmitry Perevoshchikov and Torres for the No. 3 doubles match. Gonzaga’s Hayden Smith and Vicente Varas nearly beat sophomores Cristobal Ramos Salazar and Jose Bendeck, who were down 1-4 before coming back and winning the No. 2 match 8-7 (7-5). Akbar and Cirstea won at No. 1 by a score of 8-3.
In the singles competitions, Perevoshchikov won a three-setter at the No. 1 position while Torres won at No. 4 and Salazar won at No. 5. Akbar lost in three sets at No. 2 and Cirstea lost in two sets at No. 3.
Beaman said Perevoshchikov’s win was even more impressive because he played on an injured foot against Nazal, whom Beaman calls “one of the quickest guys in college tennis.”
The win keeps Idaho atop the Western Athletic Conference standings and their unbeaten streak alive. The Vandals will face their first conference opponent, Utah State, on Feb. 16 in Logan, Utah.
Beaman said Idaho needs to stay focused if they want the streak to continue.
“Winning is nice and this men’s team has a chance to get off to the best start in the history of UI men’s tennis, but we need to continue to improve and have everybody show up fully focused at all times,” Beaman said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at email@example.com