Men’s tennis serves up easy win vs Irvine Valley

M.A. Damron/Photo Editor

Kale Williams, Staff Writer

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San Diego Mesa College men’s tennis team took on the Irvine Valley College Lasers on March 7 here at Mesa winning the match 7-2.

In the singles matches, the Olympians started hot by winning four of the six matches, overpowering their counterparts.

Mesa played the match with out their top player, Rodrigo Santibanez, due to injury.

“It changes the whole dynamic. But we’ve talked from the beginning that, in my time here, we’ve never had the same team at the end that we had to start. You always have to plan for injuries,” Mesa Head Coach Michael Hootner said.

Without Santibanez playing, it pushed Gleb Bilyalov to the top spot for the day. Bilyalov rose to the occasion winning his match 2-1 in an exhausting three hours.

“I was getting tired, the other guy was very good. He has won some tough matches and I was kind of nervous,” Bilyalov said.

Bilyalov, playing through injury, continually was grabbing at his right shoulder in pain.

“I hurt my tendons two days ago, after my last match. It really affects my serve,” Bilyalov said.

“He probably would have lost this match last year as a freshman. He is much more mentally tough, and match tough because of his experience. That’s what thirty matches will do for you. It definitely helped,” Hootner said.

Of the two matches that Mesa did drop, both went into a tiebreaker before going the Lasers way.

Mesa’s other singles match victories included James Tenbroeck, Connor Eck and Alex Abbuhl that gave Mesa the 4-2 lead going into the doubles portion of the match.

Once the doubles matches started, things didn’t change for Mesa, taking all three of the doubles matches. The winning pairs included Giordano Valdez and Nikolai Rudametkin, Tenbroeck and Sean Lee and the team of Eck and Christopher Bastardi.

“We’ve always talked about finding a way to win. Don’t worry about who we are playing just get better ourselves,” Hootner said.

“They could have been up 4-2 heading into doubles. The scores not real indicative of today. A little luck and little experience is what helped us today,” Hootner said.

Catch Mesa back in action against Amherst College on March 23 at 2 p.m.

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