NCAA Mens Tennis

Champions! Men’s Tennis Win Program’s First Pac-12 Tournament Title

Champions! Men's Tennis Win Program's First Pac-12 Tournament Title

OJAI, Calif. – Arizona Men’s Tennis shut out Stanford 4-0 to claim the program’s first-ever Pac-12 Tournament Championship title Saturday night in Ojai, adding to a long and still-growing list of accomplishments under Head Coach Clancy Shields.

The win marks not only the first tournament title for Arizona (24-3, 7-1 Pac-12) but the first time a team other than USC or UCLA has won the Pac-12 Tournament Championship.

Going into doubles competition, the Cats were looking for redemption over Stanford (17-6, 7-1 Pac-12) after dropping the doubles point to the Cardinal in the teams’ regular-season matchup. The doubles battle proved just as close as the season’s first meeting as Stanford got thte first win of the day and the Wildcats claimed the second when Gustaf Strom and Sasha Rozin took the Cardinal’s Aryan Chaudhary and Harsh Hemang Parikh, 6-3.

All eyes were on court one where No. 31 Colton Smith and Jay Friend were facing off against 49th-ranked Max Basing and Nico Godsick. Down 3-5 in the set, the Wildcats staged a huge come-from-behind run that forced a tiebreaker. The duos matched each other point for point until the Cats sealed the 7-6(8) win and the team point.

In singles, the Cats took two and dropped four first sets, setting the scene for a tough back-and-forth contest. First to finish was No. 71 Strom on court three as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-3 takedown of Basing. Minutes later, No. 34 Friend secured a three-set win over #57 Banerjee 6-2, 0-6, 6-1.

Play continued on courts one, four, five and six. After going down 5-7 in his first set and then 2-5 in his second, Hoeyeraal battled back and forced a third set after taking the second in a breaker 7-6(6). 

Similarly, on court one No. 20 Smith dropped his first set 4-6 and was down the second before coming back to force a tiebreaker. He ultimately took the second set 7-6(5) and was locked into the third set when the match concluded. Casper Christensen joined Smith, Hoeyeraal and Nick Lagaev in third sets after dropping his first set and taking his second.

After dropping his first set, Lagaev ultimately took the point and clinched the Pac-12 Championship title for the Wildcats. The win was his 93rd in singles play at Arizona. “My freshman year, we were one of the worst teams in the Pac-12,” said Lagaev after the match. “So to win the regular…

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