Utah State men's tennis (2-1, 0-0 MW) travels to Los Angeles, California, this weekend to participate in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. USU first faces UCF (0-1) on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. MT. UCLA (4-0), which is currently ranked No. 6 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, and UC Davis (1-2) will match up at 2 p.m. The outcome of Saturday's matches will determine Sunday's matchups as the winners will face each other. The matches mark the first meeting between Utah State and all three of those possible opponents.
There are 60 teams participating in 15 locations across the country. The winner of each site's single elimination event advances to the ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships next month. Last season, the Aggies advanced to the Team Indoor Championships after a 4-1 win over Wichita State followed by a 4-3 victory over No. 12 TCU.
"This weekend will be a great opportunity against some quality opponents," head coach James Wilson said. "UCF is young, but talented. I am expecting it to be a very good match. The team has prepared well and is ready to compete with a sense of urgency."
Utah State returns to the courts after a 4-3 loss to Utah on Sunday. During the dual match season, the Aggies are led in singles by freshmen Jose Carvajal and Valdemar Holm who are 3-0. Sophomore Sergiu Bucur and freshman Felipe Acosta each have a 2-0 dual match singles record, while junior Samuel Serrano and freshman Addy Vashistha are 2-1. In doubles, Holm and senior Andrew Nakajima are 2-1, Carvajal and senior Jaime Barajas are 1-0 and Bucur and Carvajal are also 1-0. Carvajal's 2-0 mark in singles and doubles against Utah earned him Mountain West Men's Tennis Player of the Week honors.
UCF opened the dual match season with a 6-1 loss to No. 9 Florida. In the loss, UCF's doubles team of senior Korey Lovett and freshman Eero Vasa defeated No. 1 Alfredo Perez and Johannes Ingildsen, 6-4. Freshman Alan Rubio recorded the Knights' only singles win with a 6-4, 2-6, 10-4 victory over No. 39 Duarte Vale.
No. 6 UCLA is undefeated so far this dual match season, sweeping its first three opponents, 7-0, before dropping two matches in its 5-2 victory over Loyola Marymount. The Bruins have three players ranked in singles by the ITA in No. 1 senior Martin Redlicki, No. 55 senior Logan Staggs and No. 108 freshman Keegan Smith. In singles, sophomore Ben Goldberg is 3-0, Staggs is 3-0, Smith is 3-0, sophomore Evan Zhu is 3-0, junior Maxime Cressy is 2-0, Redlicki is 2-0, freshman Connor Hance is 2-1, senior Austin Rapp is 2-1, redshirt freshman Connor Rapp is 1-0 and freshman Bryce Pereira is 1-0. In doubles, Smith and Austin Rapp are 3-0, Cressy and Pereira are 2-0 and three tandems are 1-0.
UC Davis is led in doubles by senior Everett Maltby and freshman Ivan Thamma who are 2-0 at the No. 2 spot. Sophomore David Goulak and senior Tommy Lam are 1-1 at the No. 1 spot. In singles, Thamma is 1-1, sophomore Mitchell Iwahiro is 1-1, sophomore Jonathan Star is 1-1 and Goulak is 1-2.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.