Men’s tennis rallies to defeat UNLV, end Mountain West Conference play


Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics

San Diego State men’s tennis sophomore Victor Castro connects with the ball during the Aztecs’ 4-2 loss to Santa Clara on April 19, 2021 at the Aztec Tennis Center.

by Jason Freund, Senior Staff Writer

In its final Mountain West Conference game of the season, the San Diego State men’s tennis team found itself down 3-1 with only three more singles matches to play. 

If one match went awry, it would result in another conference loss.

Instead, the Aztecs (5-13, 2-5 MWC) won the last three sets to stun the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (11-11, 5-2 MWC) on April 24 at the Aztec Tennis Center.

At the beginning, it didn’t look so good for the Scarlet and Black.

Graduate student Rafael Almazan Gonzalez and senior Aaro Pollanen were the first to fall in doubles as senior Alex Kobelt and sophomore Milos Dibac took a 6-3 win on the third court.

Meanwhile, the duo of sophomore Victor Castro and freshman Johannes Seeman suffered a similar fate on the first court, with senior Eric Samuelsson and junior Clayton Alenik serving up another 6-3 win.

Freshman Judson Blair put the Aztecs on the board, pinning sophomore Tom Ciszewski 6-4, 6-0 on the sixth court.

Back-to-back UNLV victories put the Rebels at three points to the Aztecs’ one. Facing a steep deficit, SDSU had no choice but to dig in and fight back.

Gonzales Almazan got the rally started, overcoming a pesky Alenik in a 7-5, 7-5 decision. Senior Ignacio Martinez knotted the score at three, overcoming a loss in the first set to beat Dibac 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

The deciding duel would be between Seeman and Kobelt, the reigning MWC Player of the Week. Seeman won the first set after an exhausting tiebreaker, but Kobelt roared back with a dominating victory in the second set.

Undeterred, Seeman roared back in the third set to clinch a 7-6 (9-7), 2-6, 6-3 victory over Kobelt and the victory over UNLV.

SDSU has two more matches before the end of the season and will play its last home game on April 28 against UC Santa Barbara.