April 14, 2003
San Diego, Calif. - The Loyola Marymount men's tennis team lost a heart-breaker to No. 39 San Diego in the West Coast Conference Championship semifinal, 4-3 on Saturday and dropped the third place match, 4-2 on Sunday to San Francisco at the USD West Courts. The Lions completed their regular season with a 15-10 dual record. The Lions started the season 3-6 and proceeded to win 12 of their last 16 matches. Nine of LMU's ten losses came to nationally ranked programs, four of which were 4-3 decisions.
"We had a great year," LMU head coach Nik DeVore said. "We just didn't finish the way we would have liked. I'm really proud of the way we bounced back from a slow start this season. I am also proud of the way our guys competed and carried themselves throughout the year. We are now a highly respected program, not only in California, but at the national level as well."
The Toreros, who were ranked as high as 29th in the nation with wins over Pepperdine and San Diego State, claimed the doubles point in the semifinals and won the first two singles matches at the second and fourth positions. But the Lions responded quickly, with Johannes Asuja's 6-0, 6-2 victory over Nic Beuque and Tigran Martirosyan's 7-6, 6-4 win over Pierrick Ysern.
"Not many people gave us a chance in the match, but we took them right down to the wire," DeVore said. "We were down 3-0 and San Diego seemed pretty confident. We put every ounce of energy into that match, and truly felt we were going to find a way to win."
San Diego was on the verge of closing it out after USD sophomore Nic Schaffner won the first set against LMU freshman Robert Kennedy and the Toreros' Mirza Koristovic took a 5-2 first set lead on Michael Wojnarowicz. The momentum quickly changed, as Wojnarowicz came back to win the match 7-6, 6-2 to tie the score at three, followed by Kennedy's 6-3 win of his second set. Unfortunately for LMU, Kennedy was unable to pull it out, falling 6-3 in the third.
The Lions then fell to USF, to earn fourth place, as Lion senior Anthony Evrard
and Wojnarowicz both won their singles match.
"We knew that bouncing back from such a tough loss in the semifinal was going to be difficult," DeVore said. "No matter what you tell the players, it's still going to weigh on their minds. The biggest match of the year for us was the San Diego match. We fought valiantly, but we just didn't have the same intensity and focus for USF. We had a very rewarding season regardless."
Martirosyan earned All-WCC in singles, finishing the year at 31-10 overall. Wojnarowicz was named honorable mention and finished the year at 27-13. Martirosyan teamed with Leopold Graeubig, while Wojnarowicz paired with Asuja to earn honorable mention, as well.