Aztecs go winless during San Diego Spring Invitational

SDSU men’s tennis lost by a combined 12-0 score over the weekend, increasing its losing streak to eight during their season full of ranked opponents


Morgan Prickett

The Aztec Tennis Courts left barren following the brief intermission due to inclement weather on Sunday, Mar. 19.

by Morgan Prickett, Sports Editor

As a light drizzle began to make its way over the Aztec Tennis Courts on Sunday, March 19, it looked as if the San Diego State men’s tennis team would escape its eighth straight loss via cancellation due to the inclement weather. Yet as the skies cleared and the rain dispersed, so did the Aztecs’ hope.

The 9-5 No. 25 Memphis University Tigers confidently handed the Aztecs a 4-0 defeat; their third loss of the San Diego Spring Invitational this past weekend and eighth loss in a row.

The 1-9 Aztecs’ last and only win of the season was a 5-2 victory during their home-opener on Jan. 21 against the University of San Francisco. Since then the Aztecs have lost eight matches straight.

As much as the Aztecs have struggled during this tough period, scoring four points to the opponents combined 36, their opposition has excelled. San Diego State has faced an array of experienced and challenging competition this season; five of their last eight losses have come at the hands of schools ranked in the top 40 in the nation.

“It’s still early in our season overall and we’ve played a pretty hefty schedule,” head coach Gene Carswell said. “We’ve been seeing a lot of the top of the country and so really, what we try to do is focus on what is the goal for the year. The goal is not to peak right now, the goal for us is going to be peaking by the time we get to conference.”

One of the few positives for the Aztecs during this season was a win during the 134th Pacific Coast Doubles Championship for senior Chikaya Sato and junior Johannes Seeman on the weekend of March 3. During the tournament that started with 128 pairs of players, the 17th seeded duo of Sato and Seeman became the third pair of Aztecs to win the title in the last 20 years and the first since Achim Ceban and Benedikt Stronk in 2007.

“It feels great to win it in front of the San Diego crowd. It was just a fun tournament,” Sato said. “People didn’t even know my name when this tournament started. Playing in front of the home crowd and my teammates and ultimately coming through with a win – it was a great moment.”

SDSU junior Johannes Seeman and senior Chikaya Sato embrace after winning a point against the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, Mar. 19.
SDSU junior Johannes Seeman and senior Chikaya Sato embrace after winning a point against the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, Mar. 19. (Morgan Prickett)

Yet following the tournament win, the Aztecs have continued to struggle during their regular season schedule.

“We got our name on the trophy there, we did some really good things in doubles but I feel like we kind of got a little bit lackadaisical with our doubles and we’re not doing some of the really good things that we were doing in that tournament,” Carswell said. “We’ve got to get back to doing more of that.”

The Aztecs came into the San Diego Spring Invitational knowing they had a challenge on their hands with three-straight matches against ranked opponents. Yet with the competition they had already faced early into the season, this weekend felt no different.

“(Ranking) shouldn’t matter, the main thing is we can compete with the high ranking teams but it’s just still too soft,” Seeman said. “We have to look in the mirror and understand that we’re not quite there to beat these guys yet. Yes, maybe we fight close matchups but it’s not enough so we just got to get tougher.”

SDSU junior Bora Sengul returns a ball against the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, Mar. 19.
SDSU junior Bora Sengul returns a ball against the Memphis Tigers on Sunday, Mar. 19. (Morgan Prickett)

The Aztecs lost each game during the invitational 4-0. First they fell to No. 7 Harvard on Friday before being defeated by No. 35 Tulane on Saturday and No. 25 Memphis on Sunday.

San Diego State’s next chance at redemption will come on Friday, March 31, against another ranked opponent. The Aztecs will take on No. 37 University of Texas, San Antonio at the Aztec Tennis Center before facing No. 59 Boise State on Sunday, April 2.