ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The 29th-ranked California men’s tennis team’s postseason campaign came to an end in the NCAA Championship on Sunday, when the Golden Bears fell to seventh-ranked and seventh-seeded Michigan, 4-0, in the second round outdoors at the Varsity Tennis Center.
Graduate student Yuta Kikuchi will represent the Bears in the NCAA Singles Championship from May 22-27 in Orlando, Florida. But the Cal team (13-11) ended its season on Sunday.
Michigan (26-4) advances to the NCAA Super Regional.
The Wolverines claimed the doubles point, with Patrick Maloney and Nino Ehrenschneider beating the Bears’ Siddhant Banthia and Ryder Jackson, 6-4, to clinch on court two.
“It was a tough day at the office for us,” said Kris Kwinta, Cal’s Peter Wright Director of Men’s Tennis. “The first few minutes in doubles we played well and had our chances. We broke at court three and had our chances at two and one. Against a team like that, you have to seize those opportunities early and put pressure on them. We didn’t fully take advantage of those chances, and the doubles point ran away from us.”
In singles, Cal trailed 3-0 after senior Philip Hjorth lost to Michigan’s 63rd-ranked Gavin Young, 6-3, 6-2, on court five and Banthia fell to Jacob Bickersteth, 6-3, 6-2, on court six. The Wolverines completed their 4-0 victory when the eighth-ranked Ondrej Styler defeated the 27th-ranked Kikuchi, 6-2, 6-1, on court one.
“Once they won the doubles point, Michigan relaxed and went into the singles matches swinging away, and we very quickly fell behind in first sets,” Kwinta said. “That’s a really good Michigan team. We weren’t able to stay with them in singles in the beginning. We made a little push in the second sets. Ryder won a first set and Carlo won his second set. But other than that hard it was hard to find any momentum when you dig yourselves such a big hole. Michigan played well and with that big of a lead they were able to take their shots.”
Kwinta says the team’s losses this season will serve as motivation for the returning Bears to improve for next year.
“I’m proud of the team,” he said. “I told the guys it would be great if you go without any losses and you win all your matches, and everything is all rainbows and unicorns. But that’s not what sports are about. We had our share of struggles, injuries, battles, but you just hope to grow individually and as a unit. We…
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