Gaels Play Three WCC Matches This Week
MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's men's tennis team will get the West Coast Conference season underway this week with three matches in conference play. The Gaels will host Bay Area rival San Francisco before heading to the Pacific Northwest to take on Gonzaga and Portland this weekend.
Saint Mary's will host USF on Tuesday, March 20 at 3 p.m. from the Timothy Korth Tennis Complex. The Gaels will then travel to Spokane, Washington to take on Gonzaga on Friday, March 23 at 12 p.m. The final match of the week will be in Oregon, as Saint Mary's will take on Portland on Sunday, March 25 at 10 a.m.
The Gaels enter the week with a 4-8 overall record, but have not played a match since taking on Idaho on March 9. SMC was scheduled to take on Sonoma State on March 16, but the match was cancelled due to inclement weather in the Bay Area last week.
Maxime Olivan and Seif El Sherbini have each won their last three singles matches, while Sherif Hamdy leads Saint Mary's with a 7-5 record this season playing on courts two and three. The Gaels have had some success in doubles play as of late, with El Sherbini and Hamdy teaming up to win their last three matches. Olivan and Saad Benkirane have also combined to win their last three matches to improve to 4-1 at the No. 2 spot this spring.
San Francisco is 2-9 this season, with their only wins coming against Sacramento State and UC Davis. Most recently USF lost to Yale at home, 5-2, and to Oregon at a neutral site, 4-3. Senior Thai Tu is ranked No. 124 in the ITA singles poll and leads the Dons at the No. 1 spot this season. The Gaels are 31-13 all-time against San Francisco, including going 2-1 against the Dons last season.
Gonzaga enters the weekend with a 7-6 record and a 0-1 mark in WCC play after a loss to Portland on February 17. The Bulldogs have won their last three matches though, with wins over Fairleigh Dickinson, UC Riverside, and Boston. Alvaro Nazal has played the majority of the matches at the No. 1 spot for Gonzaga, while Zhia Hwa Chong leads the team with a 12-1 record this spring playing on courts four, five, and six. The Gaels are 19-0 all-time against the Bulldogs, including a 6-1 win last season in Moraga.
After going 13-9 last season, Portland enters the weekend with a 10-2 record and a 9-1 mark at home. The Pilots have earned victories in their last three straight matches with wins over Portland State, Weber State and Montana. Justin Guay leads the team this spring with an 8-3 record, while Alex Ferrero brings a 7-2 mark into the weekend. The Gaels are 12-9 all-time against the Pilots, including a 4-0 win in the 2010 WCC Tournament in San Diego.
Following the trip to the Pacific Northwest, the Gaels will return home to host WCC newcomer BYU on Friday, March 30 at 3 p.m.