Oregon men’s tennis wins crucial Senior Day match over Arizona
Emotions ran high from beginning to end of Oregon’s Senior Day in the Student Tennis Center on Sunday.
Through all the celebration, there was still an important match to be played as Oregon is still fighting to get to NCAAs. The No. 49 Ducks dominated Arizona 4-0 in front of a packed house.
It was a bounce-back win for Oregon after losing 4-1 to No. 37 ASU on Friday. Now sitting at 14-7 on the season and 2-3 in Pac-12 play, the Ducks needed a victory on Sunday as they try to earn one of the 64 spots in the tournament.
“It was a must-win,” head coach Nils Schyllander said. “I think we responded really well.”
Seniors Cormac Clissold, Simon Stevens and Akihiro Tanaka were honored before they played their last collegiate match in Eugene.
“Yeah, it was definitely a special day for Cormac, Aki and I,” Stevens said.
Although none of the three seniors got results in their singles matches, Stevens and Clissold each picked up wins in the doubles portion. Clissold and Thomas Laurent won their match 6-4 to give the Ducks the advantage. It was then up to Stevens and partner Ty Gentry to win the point.
With Stevens yelling every point, he and Gentry were able to secure the doubles point for the team.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Stevens said. “At the end there was a lot of tension. Winning that doubles point was a key for the match. I think having our family and more crowd than usual gave us the energy to be able to clinch that doubles point.”
In singles play, Oshima picked up the clinching point again for the Ducks, eight days after clinching the Washington match. Oshima now has 10 wins on the season after joining the team in January.
“Riki came through again,” Schyllander said. “He’s got a lot of confidence after that Washington match. He played one of their stronger positions. He, as a freshman, took care of it in straight sets.”
The other two single points for the Ducks came from usual spots. Gentry and Laurent both won in straight sets. Laurent won his match 6-2, 7-5 to put the Ducks up 2-0. Just three seconds later Gentry won his match 6-4, 6-2 to put the Ducks one win from victory.
Although their business is finished at home, the Oregon seniors will still look to finish their collegiate careers on a high note with the postseason and graduation looming.
Despite the added stress, the Ducks approached the match like they always do.
“There was a little more pressure than usual on this match,” Clissold said. “We treated it as usual. We come out and just try to get the job done everyday. It’s like any other match.”
It was a bittersweet day for Schyllander seeing his seniors compete for the last time in Eugene.
“It’s kind of sad to see them graduate in a way because you spend so much time together over so many years,” Schyllander said. “I am very proud of all three of those guys.”
The Ducks will play on the road for their last three matches of the season, traveling first to Salt Lake City to take on Utah next Saturday at 11 a.m.
“They know what they need to do,” Schyllander said. “We’ll get it done.”
Follow Maverick Pallack on Twitter @mavpallack
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