The University of Portland men’s tennis team fell hard 7-0 to the Brigham Young Cougars in their second WCC match on Saturday, March 23. The tough loss brings the team to a conference record of 0-2 and an overall record of 5-9.
“Tough matches, bad luck,” said freshman Sema Pankin of the season. “It’s not going as well as we were expecting, but it’s still a good experience for us.”
Portland saw overwhelming defeats at No. 2 doubles with freshmen Arjun Mariappa and Nicklas Oberg losing to Cougars Jacob Tullis and Ben Gajardo 6-1, and No. 3 doubles with freshmen Leo Hibi and Issa Yoshida falling 6-2 to BYU’s Matthew Pearce and Mateo Vereau Melendez. Portland’s No. 1 doubles team, Portland freshmen Pankin and Eleftherios Neos, was 4-4 when the match was called unfinished.
In singles, the Pilots almost tasted victory, but still ultimately fell to the Cougars. There were some close calls with freshmen Oberg and Neos, who both played competitively but dropped the second 7-6 and 6-5, respectively.
“We had some really nice competitive moments where it seemed like things could shift our direction, but we couldn’t get over the hump,” head coach Aaron Gross said.
One of the greater challenges of the season has been a lack of play for senior captain Carlos Donat, who is not cleared to play due to a back injury. Sophomore Tom Hahn is also currently out because of an injury.
"We knew from the beginning that it was going to be tough because we didn’t have Carlos or Tom,” Neos said. “But anyway, [those aren’t] excuses.”
The team hopes to see the season go uphill from here, which they believe will happen with a change of mindset.
“We tried our best, we’re fighting, we keep going no matter what.”
The Pilots will next travel to Santa Clara to face the Broncos on March 29 at 11 a.m.
Ana Clyde is a senior sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.