CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW: Men's Tennis Seeks Conference Title
The Lions travels to San Diego with eyes on the WCC championship.
April 24, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- LMU men’s tennis will head to the 2012 West Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Championships held at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. LMU was predicted to finish seventh in conference, and concluded the regular season with a 3-4 record in the WCC for a fifth-place finish. The Lions travel to the Championships knowing that they have the ability to compete with any team and will need consistency and focus to advance deep in the tournament.
LMU is lead by sophomore Alex Wilton. The sophomore from Epsom, UK is the Lions number one singles player with 12 overall victories this season. In his last outing, Wilton gained a victory on court one at 52nd-ranked BYU. Playing with doubles partner freshman Felix Van Kann, the pair had a five-match win streak over the months of March and April, including wins versus San Francisco, Santa Clara, Portland, and then-number 55 UC Santa Barbara. Alex has also demonstrated his prowess in the classroom, as he was named to the WCC’s All-Academic team.
Playing at the No. 2 position for the Lions is Nicholas Bjerke. The junior was named WCC Player of the Month for February after he posted a 5-0 record in the month and helped the Lions to a three-match win streak. The native of Oslo, Norway is 10-6 in dual matches this year with an 8-4 record at No. 2 singles. He had a seven-match win streak stretching throughout the entire month of February until the middle of March. With doubles partner Sebastian Bustamante, the pair have a 9-5 overall record, including 7-4 in dual matches and a 2-0 record against nationally ranked opponents.
The Lions have the advantage of a deep squad. Bustamante is 2-0 this season playing at No. 2 singles. Freshman Todd Volmari is 4-3 in singles in WCC matches. He and junior Nick Northcott have won three of their last four matches in doubles. With depth and versatility, head coach Brad Sceney has options to choose from in order for the Lions to compete well in the single-elimination dual match tournament.
The fifth-seeded Lions begin play at the WCC Championships Wednesday, April 25 versus No. 8 San Francisco at 9:00 a.m. at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego. The winner of the Tennis Championships will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions concluded their regular season schedule with a 6-1 setback against BYU (14-7, 4-2 WCC). The Cougars beat LMU (10-13, 3-4 WCC) on every court except in #1 singles. The doubles round was swept by BYU. Georgy Batrakov and Patrick Kawka defeated Alex Wilton and Felix Van Kann 8-2. Sebastian Bustamante and Daniel Simko fell to Spencer Smith and Francis Sargent, 8-4. In the final contest, Keaton Cullimore and Michael Eraso beat Todd Volmari and Nick Northcott, 8-5.
Alex Wilton gained the only point for the Lions on the day with a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 10-7 victory over Spencer Smith in #1 singles. No. 74 Georgy Batrakov started the round by defeating Todd Volmari 6-1, 6-1. Francis Sargeant then beat Daniel Simko 6-0, 6-3. Robin Kiyabu fell to Michael Eraso 6-4, 6-0 clinching the match for the Cougars.
WCC TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
The West Coast Conference has announced the brackets and match times for the 2012 West Coast Conference Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, Presented by the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which is scheduled to take place at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.
After competing in the first ever round robin schedule in conference history, Pepperdine went undefeated on both the men’s and women’s sides, garnering the top seeds in the tournament. On the men’s side, Santa Clara earned the second seed and will join the Waves in earning byes into the conference semifinals on Friday morning. San Diego, the third seed, earned a bye to the second round and will take the court on Thursday morning.
LMU men’s tennis team was ranked No. 5 by the WCC. In the first round, the Lions will face No. 8 San Francisco. The winner of the match will continue to face either No. 4 BYU or No. 9 Gonzaga on Thursday, April 26.
The Championships get underway on Wednesday with three men’s matches to begin at 9:30 a.m., followed by three women’s matches scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.
WCC ALL-ACADEMIC TEAM
The West Coast Conference has named LMU sophomore Alex Wilton to the conference’s All- Academic team. Wilton was named to the team for his accomplishments both in the classroom and on the court. Alex is a Management major who currently has a 3.71 grade point average.
HEAD COACH Brad Sceney
Brad Sceney is in his fifth year as head coach of the Loyola Marymount men’s tennis team. Sceney has led the Lions to back-to-back fifth place finishes at the WCC Tournament in 2010 and 2011. Overall in the four years that Sceney has been at LMU, the Lions have finished 5th in 2011 and 2010, 6th in 2009 and 5th in 2008.
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.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH
The West Coast Conference has named LMU junior Nicholas Bjerke as player of the month for February. The junior went 5-0 during the month playing No. 2 singles and helped lead the Lions to a three-match winning streak during the month.
Bjerke defeated opponents from No. 54 UNLV, New Mexico State, UC Davis, Pacific and UC Riverside. In his win over No. 54 UNLV, Bjerke defeated Tamas Batyl by a score of 6-1, 6-3. He won four of his five matches in straight sets, coming from behind in his other victory over the University of Pacific’s Tomasz Krzyszkowski 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.
UNIVERSITY OF PACIFIC
The West Coast Conference announced March 28 that the University of the Pacific has formally accepted an invitation to join the WCC on July 1, 2013, for the 2013-14 academic year. Pacific was one of five founding members of the WCC (then the California Basketball Association) in 1952-53 and remained in the Conference until 1971.
WCC PRESEASON POLL
The Pepperdine’s men’s tennis team was chosen to finish first in the 2012 West Coast Conference preseason poll. Pepperdine received the maximum 64 total points after earning first place votes from all the men’s head coaches around the conference. San Diego, the reigning 2011 WCC Champion, was chosen to finish second.