Men's tennis looks for strong finish

By The Beacon | April 19, 2012 9:00pm

After a 0-2 trip to California, the Pilots look to finish their regular season winning at home

Sophmore Michel Hu Kwo hefts the ball before sending it careening across the net during the Pilots’ March 18 match against Montana. Against Pepperdine, Hu Kwo defeated the first ranked opponent of his collegiate career. (Monica McAllister | The Beacon)

By Jason Hortsch, Staff Writer --

After a rough 0-2 trip to California, the Pilot men's tennis team is looking to finish the regular season strong at home against Santa Clara and San Francisco. The Pilots play Santa Clara at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow and San Francisco at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Geoff Hernandez, one of two seniors on the team, hopes to see Pilot fans come out and support the team in its regular season finale.

"I would love to see people come out for these two matches," Hernandez said. "They will probably be some of our most competitive matches at home, and it's the last chance for people to come out and watch our team."

The matches will also be crucial in helping the team shake off the memory of the two lopsided defeats suffered in California last weekend, against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.

"Our coaches stress short memory," Hernandez said. "You have to learn from the matches, but then throw it away and forget about it. I think we'll bounce back."

He also thinks a home court advantage will help to steady the Pilots.

"Both matches will be really tough, but they're at home, and at home we can beat anybody," he said.

Against Pepperdine, the Pilots fell 6-1. The lone bright spot was sophomore Michel Hu Kwo, who defeated a ranked opponent for the first time in his career.

"This is the biggest win in my college career until now, and I am really glad that I was able to beat him in his own home court," Hu Kwo said.

The victory didn't come easy, as Hu Kwo was pushed by Mousheg Hovhannisya, who is ranked 80th in the nation, to an 18-game third set to secure the victory. While excited for the win, Hu Kwo wants to keep everything in perspective.

"I have to understand that in the end, it is just a win and I need to continue to work hard and be prepared for the rest of the season," Hu Kwo said.

In addition to Hu Kwo's victory, Hernandez was pleased with the team's overall effort, even though it ultimately resulted in a loss.

"The Pepperdine match wasn't bad because we had people who were competing well," Hernandez said. "Michel's victory made it a little better too since we were all happy for him."

The mood was decidedly different after the team's 7-0 defeat against Loyola Marymount.

"That was a letdown," Hernandez said, referring to the LMU match. "None of us were happy with the way we played in that match. If we could have that match back, we would definitely change the way we approached it."

Hu Kwo agreed with his teammates sentiments.

"To be honest, none of us are happy losing two matches in this trip," Hu Kwo said. "We just need to accept the loss and learn from it."

Further stacking the odds against the Pilots in the LMU match were the outdoor conditions.

"The home court advantage made it a little more lopsided in their favor," Hernandez said. "We haven't played much outdoors, and that transition from indoors to outdoors can be hard."

As a senior, Hernandez is all too aware of his limited time remaining as a Pilot and is using that as his current inspiration.

"It's my last two home matches, and the last time I'll play competitively here," Hernandez said. "It's motivating, if anything. I get several chances to end my career right, on my terms. We're going to compete hard."