Men’s tennis eliminated by Fresno State in MW Championship semifinals

by Cole Hanson, Staff Writer

San Diego State men’s tennis saw its season come to a quick halt on April 27, falling 4-0 to Fresno State University in the semifinals of the Mountain West Championship tournament at the Aztec Tennis Center.

One day after the No. 6 seeded Aztecs celebrated a victory over No. 3-seed New Mexico on court six, it was the Bulldogs who were celebrating on the same court.

Fresno junior Jeremy Moser outlasted junior Raul De La Torre 6-4, 6-0 to earn the deciding fourth point and send the Bulldogs to the championship round.

SDSU (6-20) had momentum going into the Fresno State (19-12) match, but ultimately fell short of its season goal.

“Our goal wasn’t to make semifinals. Our goal was to win this tournament here,” head coach Gene Carswell said. “If we had found that doubles point today, I think we would be having a little different conversation.”

Despite coming into the tournament with a record of 5-19, the Aztecs had home field advantage, which Carswell said was a treat for his players during their two matches.

“Anyone who was lucky enough to be a part of the New Mexico match in any capacity, they got a treat. It was a lot of fun to play in front of the crowds,” Carswell said.

The SDSU duo of junior Sander Gjoels Anderson and sophomore Rafael Gonzalez Almazan dominated their doubles match on court one, with a special swagger that would have convinced anyone that the Aztecs had a solid chance going forward.

However, the team struggled in doubles on courts two and three, giving the Bulldogs the doubles point as well as the momentum.

The importance of the doubles point has shown itself to be true all year long, as the Aztecs came in with only one loss in a conference match in which they won the doubles point.

“Going down 1-0 in the doubles obviously made it hard in the singles,” Anderson said. “We know Fresno is a really good team with a lot of depth and a lot of great players, so it was an uphill battle.”

The Aztecs were unable to notch any singles wins, although Anderson, Gonzalez Almazan and sophomore Arnaud Restifo did not get the chance to finish their matches.

Gonzalez Almazan said the long and hard-fought New Mexico match might have contributed to the Aztecs’ flat performance against Fresno.

“I feel like [Thursday] night we had a really rough match, everybody went to three sets, and a little fatigue set in this morning,” Gonzalez Almazan said. “But we were in the semi-finals, so there was no excuse. We practice all year long just for these three days.”

Gonzalez Almazan said he has plans to finish his final exams and return to his hometown in Madrid, Spain over the summer to visit his family, recharge the batteries, and train for next season.

Although there was no championship won, the Aztecs found a way to trend in the right direction towards the end of the season.  Having no seniors on the team this year, Carswell said next season has a lot of promise with so many returning players.

“It takes a group that’s willing to go through some pain in order to achieve some goals, and this group is willing to do that. We have a lot of youth in this team and we’ll continue to get better,” Carswell said. “I can promise you that this team is going to have a taste in their mouth for wanting a little more next year.”