SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah men’s tennis team (11-6) dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 12 California in its first-ever Pac-12 Conference match Friday at the Liberty Park Tennis Center. Freshman Slim Hamza captured Utah’s solo point in an upset over 39th-ranked Carlos Cueto from the No. 3 singles slot.
“We played at a very high level today, good enough to win,” said head coach F.D. Robbins. “But we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities in front of us. If we believe in ourselves that we should win, we will win these matches.”
In doubles play, the Utes were swept by the Golden Bears in all three positions. Sophomore Alejandro Medinilla and freshman Ace Matias fell to 33rd-ranked Carlos Cueto and Ben McLachlan, 8-5, at the No. 2 slot.
Sophomore Devin Lane and Hamza then dropped an 8-5 decision to Gregory Bayane and Andrew Scholnick at the No. 3 spot.
California quickly earned a 2-0 lead going into singles play when Medinilla was defeated by Riki McLachlan at the No. 6 position, 6-3, 6-2. Lane then suffered a 7-6(5), 6-2 loss at the fifth slot to Gregory Bayane.
At the top spot, Suriano fell in the first set to 76th-ranked Andrews, 7-5, then rallied back in the second set for a 4-6 victory, but was ultimately unable to take the third set and fell 6-3, deciding the match for California at 4-0.
Hamza then faced 39th-ranked Cueto at the No. 3 spot, falling in the first set 5-7, but returning with determination, taking the second and third sets by 6-4, 6-3, respectively, earning Utah’s single point.
Mamedov then suffered a hard-fought 6-7(8), 6-3, 10-6 loss to No. 37 Ben McLachlan at the second slot.
Freshman Rafael Davidian then battled Konigsfeldt to a tight 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 loss at the No. 4 spot, finishing the match at 6-1 for California.
The Utes return to action Sunday when they host No. 8 Stanford at 11.00am at the Eccles Tennis Center.
#12 University of California 6, University of Utah 1
1. #76 Nick Andrews (CAL) def. Benito Suriano (UTAH) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
2. #37 Ben McLachlan (CAL) def. Dmytro Mamedov (UTAH) 6-7 (8-10), 6-3, 10-6
3. Slim Hamza (UTAH) def. #39 Carlos Cueto (CAL) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3
4. Christoffer Konigsfe (CAL) def. Rafael Davidian (UTAH) 5-7, 6-4, 7-5
5. Gregory Bayane (CAL) def. Devin Lane (UTAH) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
6. Riki McLachlan (CAL) def. Alejandro Medinilla (UTAH) 6-3, 6-2
1. #3 Andrews/Koningsfeldt (CAL) def. Suriano/Mamedov (UTAH) 8-3
2. #33 Cueto/McLachlan (CAL) def. Medinilla/Ace Matias (UTAH) 8-5
3. Bayane/Scholnick (CAL) def. Lane/Hamza (UTAH) 8-5
University of California 8-7; National ranking #12
University of Utah 11-6
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1,3); Singles (6,5,1,3,2,4)