Lions Head to the Northwest for Two Conference Matches
LMU men's tennis will play at the University of Portland and at Gonzaga University this weekend.
April 2, 2013
The Lions will spend a second straight weekend on the road for another pair of conference match- es. LMU men’s tennis will visit the Portland Pilots Friday and then face the Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday.
The Lions have been struggling as of late, but have two favorable matchups on the horizon in Portland and Gonzaga. The Northwest WCC schools share subpar conference records as well. One of LMU’s two wins this season came in a non-conference match against Gonzaga at home earlier in the year.
On a positive note, it appears that senior Nicholas Bjerke is finally fully recovered from a hip injury he has been battling for most of the season. Bjerke returned to the lineup at the end of March and is starting to find his rhythm again.
In addition, sophomore Felix Van Kann and junior Sebastain Bustamante have been finding their groove in singles play lately. van Kann has won six of his previous eight singles matches, while Bustamante has won five of his past seven matches.
NEW DOUBLES DUOS
LMU has been improving dramatically in doubles with a few new groupings. In the team’s most recent match, senior Nicholas Bjerke began playing doubles with junior Sebastian Bustamante again. The Bjerke/Bustamante duo was All-WCC in 2012 and traveled to Oklahoma in the fall for the ITA All-American doubles tournament. The pair also advanced to the ITA regional semifinals in a doubles tournament in California later in the fall.
Another duo that has seen recent success is the pair of German sophomores in Othar Kordsachia and Felix Van Kann. They have never lost a match while playing together, going 4-0 in the month of March with two matches going unfinished once deemed inconsequential to the doubles point. They have since moved up to play mostly on Court 1 together. The pair defeated the then No. 47 doubles team in the nation of Finn Tearney and Francis Alcantara from then No. 11 Pepperdine. And against then No. 72 Oklahoma St., they were ahead in the match against the No. 43 doubles team in the nation of Denys Pume and Richard del Nunzio before it went unfinished.
Rounding out the group is junior Daniel Simko and senior Jack Zapala. The two haven’t played much singles lately, but have been dominating in doubles, winning all of their previous three matches. These victories include a win at then No. 11 Pepperdine, as well as last week’s confer- ence matches.
The Portland Pilots are currently 8-7 with one more match before facing LMU on Friday. The Pilots had a solid start to their season, but have lost four of their past five match matches. The team has played an extremely tough schedule, with five matches against nationally ranked teams so far this season.
In conference play, the team is 1-2. Portland got a close 4-3 win over Gonzaga, but was swept by San Diego and lost a close 4-3 match with Saint Mary’s.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are currently 7-9 with one more match before playing against LMU on Sat- urday. Gonzaga recently snapped a five-match losing streak with a big 5-2 win over New Mexico St. University.
In conference play, the team is 0-3. They have lost to Portland, San Diego, and Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs have also faced LMU earlier this season in a non-conference match. The result was a 5-2 win for LMU in Los Angeles.
The Loyola Marymount men’s tennis team are predicted to finish seventh in the West Coast Con- ference according to a poll of the conference’s coaches released earlier this season. The Lions finished fifth in the conference the previous three seasons.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
At LMULions.com, Lions’ All-Access continues its profile series, Inside the Lions Spotlight, with freshman Cristobal Rivera. In the video interview, Cristobal talks about his first collegiate season, the importance of his parents, and his great career at Santa Monica High. You can view the video at: http://www.lmulions. com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/012213aab.html
THIS YEAR’S SQUAD
The Lions are an experienced team this season. With eight returners and only two newcomers, LMU will field a veteran squad most matches. Senior Nicholas Bjerke returns to lead the Lions. The Oslo, Norway native earned honorable mention on the All-WCC team for singles play. Bjerke was named WCC player of the month in February after five consecutive singles wins in the month. Bjerke and playing partner junior Sebastian Bustamante went 7-4 at the number one spot in doubles and the pair was named the the All-WCC second team in doubles. Redshirt senior Jack Zapala returns after missing the 2011-12 season due to injury.
Junior Daniel Simko finished 12-13 in singles play at the number five and six spots in 2012 and posted an 11-16 record in doubles matches in 2012. Sopho- mores Todd Volmari, Felix Van Kann and Robin Kiyabu gained valuable experience and wins during their first campaigns.
Joining the team this year are sophomore transfer Othar Kordsachia from Denver University and freshman Cristobal Rivera. Kordsachia went 16-17 in singles matches at the number four, five, and six spots and went 16-18 in doubles matches in 2012 at Denver. Rivera had a distinguished high school career at Santa Monica High School where he was a four-year varsity letter winner and captained his team to three consecutive league titles and two-time CIF finals while also being a CIF individual runner-up and going undefeated during his senior year.
HEAD COACH Brad Sceney
Brad Sceney is in his sixth year as head coach of the Loyola Marymount men’s tennis team. Sceney came to the bluff after serving as the Director of Tennis at The Paseo Club in Valencia, Calif., and enjoying an All-American collegiate career at Pepperdine from 1995-98. An All-American while at Pepperdine, Sceney helped the Waves to a top-10 ranking each of his four seasons in Malibu. His mark of 85 career singles victories is still the Pepperdine record today. In 1996, Sceney won the All-American Doubles Championship.
Sceney has led the Lions to three straight fifth-place finishes in the WCC. Overall in the five years that Sceney has been at LMU, the Lions have finished 5th in 2012, 2011 and 2010, 6th in 2009 and 5th in 2008. The Lions were 10-14 overall and 3-4 in conference last season.
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