PSU Tennis Club storms the north

In a field that saw the Portland State Tennis Club as the only non-Canadian team, the odds were stacked against them to knock off the defending champions at the Tennis on Campus University of Victoria Invitational.

The 2015 tournament was held at Oak Bay and Cedar Hill Recreation Centers, with eleven total teams and two brackets of pool play. Tennis clubs from all over Canada included: the host school University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, University of British Columbia and the eight-time defending champions University of Alberta. Except for Calgary, each team brought two squads.

Tennis club format is World Team Tennis style which counts games from five matches: women singles and doubles, men singles and doubles, and mixed doubles. This co-ed format has favored schools with a balanced team. The results of each match would be first to six games with a tiebreaker match if necessary.

The brackets were broken up into two separate draws with the top finisher advancing to the finals. PSU team two would have to go through the big favorites, defending champions University of Alberta and the host school University of Victoria. PSU team one would have to go through notable teams such as Simon Fraser University and University of Alberta team two in order to advance.

Day one saw PSU #1 go up against Simon Fraser #2 in the opening match. Simon Fraser got decisive wins in women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Men’s doubles and singles had two good wins—Connor Picken and Michael Nguyen delivered the doubles point while Ben Talpos delivered the singles point. However, Fraser would continue the tournament with an unblemished record.

The second matchup pitted PSU against the host school’s number two team. After dropping both doubles matches, PSU #1 needed to make a comeback in singles to stay in contention. Talpos continued his strong play with another decisive win, 6-2. Molly Ozier got another win in a tiebreaker, 6-5. In her debut with the club, she expressed how it felt to contribute to the comeback.

“After a long day of travel and losing my first match against SFU, I really wanted something to feel good about. So I went into the match with a competitive mentality wanting to win. I gave it my all and I came out on top,” Oziar said.

Nguyen and Lauren Ogard competed in mixed doubles needing a win to complete the comeback, delivering with a 6-1 result. This gave PSU #1 a 1-1 round robin record after day one and hope of advancing to the finals. PSU #2 had a difficult time against Alberta. The defending champions asserted their record with a clean sweep.

UBC received a win in women’s doubles while PSU received a win in men’s doubles. Singles saw PSU with a women’s singles win with UBC a men’s singles win. Mixed doubles would be contested with PSU #2 needing to win 6-4 to have a 1-1 record. Even after winning three out of the five matches, PSU #2 would lose by one game to drop to 0-2 for the tournament.

After undefeated singles performances, Talpos expressed that, “I felt good about the wins, but would rather have the team wins instead.”

Day two was particularly rough for both PSU club teams. PSU #1 dropped their final two matches to UBC #1 and Alberta #2, respectively. In the finals, Alberta #1 and #2 faced off. Alberta #1 would be the champion, looking to defend their crown once again next year.

Nguyen, who helped captain the team, said, “I was pleased with how we played, it was out first tournament together. As a new team, I was proud at how everyone fought and worked together to post a good win over UVic.”

As president of the PSU Tennis Club and captain of team #2 for the tournament, “I thought that even though our record didn’t show it, we played extremely well. We will learn from this and use this experience as a stepping stone to our goal of placing one or both PSU teams in the top four in our next tournament,” Nguyen said.

PSU Tennis Club will be participating in the Pacific Northwest Championships hosted by USTA Tennis on Campus at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center on March 7–8 in Beaverton, Oregon.