Men’s Tennis Makes Santa Clara History
Team receives bid to NCAA tournament for first time
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2012 12:05
Three days after a heartbreaking loss to the University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference Tournament, the Broncos’ spirits were lifted when they were notified that they had received an at-large bid.
The No. 35 Broncos entered the WCC Tournament having secured the No. 2 seed with a record of 21–5 overall (7–1 in the WCC). Bypassing the first and second rounds, Santa Clara faced off against San Diego for the second time this season in the tournament semifinals.
Despite handing the Toreros a loss less than two weeks back, No. 25 San Diego emerged with the win on its home court at the Barnes Tennis Center.
“When a match is that close, where it could go either way and you’ve been on the court for four or four-and-a-half hours, you’re obviously disappointed,” said Head Coach Derek Mills.
Senior Kyle Dandan managed to out-perform San Diego’s Nikola Bubnic in their previous matchup, but was unable to secure two victories back-to-back.
“I fought him really hard and tried to beat him for the second time in a row, but he just played better than me that day, and I give him credit for that,” said Dandan, who fell to Bubnic 6–4, 2–6, 4–6.
With the crowd on their side and the desire to get back at Santa Clara for their recent loss, San Diego knocked the Broncos out of WCC Championship contention with a 5–2 win. The Toreros went on to fall in the finals to Pepperdine.
“I believe we did everything right that day against San Diego,” said Dandan, who earlier this week was named to the All-WCC Singles First Team. “We stuck to our routines, we were focused and motivated throughout the match, we fought really hard and gave everything we had, but unfortunately it just wasn’t our day.”
But the sense of defeat didn’t last long. When Tuesday arrived, the Broncos awaited the NCAA Committee’s decision.
Dandan’s confidence failed to offset a sense of urgency as he still noticed his nerves acting up as he waited for the final verdict.
“We can only pray and trust God for whatever he has planned for us,” said Dandan, prior to the announcement.
For Mills, the hope that he experienced in previous years was less wavering and more assuring.
“We’ve had a really strong year and, with our ranking being the way it was, I was pretty confident that we were actually going to get in this year,” said Mills.
Santa Clara will travel north to Stanford, where they will take on the University of Texas on May 12 at 9 a.m.
The match will be one for the record books, with the Broncos having a chance to add yet another accomplishment to Santa Clara’s history on the tennis court.
“We’re going to need everyone to be ready to go. And if we get that, like we have all year, we should be okay,” said Mills.
Contact Gabe Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 554-4852.