Men’s tennis defeats UCF, falls to No. 6 UCLA in weekend split

Seriu Bucur from Romania throwing a serve for USU

The Men’s tennis team opened the week with a comeback win over UCF 4-2, but lost their second match of the week to No. 6 UCLA 4-0.

Against UCF (1-2), the Aggies (3-2) trailed 2-0 early on after losing the doubles point and the first singles match. Doubles pairs Andrew Nakajima and Valdemar Holm along with Samuel Serrano and Sergiu Bucur lost 6-2 against their opponents.

Serrano fell to UCF freshman Gabriel Decamps 6-1, 6-1 to put USU down by two points, but the Aggies went on to win the next four matches. Jose Carvajal bested Eero Vasa 6-2, 6-4. Holm won a close 6-4, 7-5 victory over freshman Mikhail Sokolovskiy, and Felipe Acosta gave Utah State the lead with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Danny Kerznerman.

Bucur played in the deciding match and fell behind after losing the first set 3-6. But he outdueled UCF senior Korey Lovett in the final two sets, which both went to tiebreaker, 7-6, 7-6.

“Incredible effort from the guys,” said Aggie head coach James Wilson following the match. “To be down like that and fight back really showed a lot of heart. UCF is a strong team that will for sure improve throughout the year. We have a huge opportunity tomorrow to go back to the National Indoors, and I know our guys will be fired up.”

The win over UCF was a chance to build momentum for the game against UCLA (6-0), but whatever momentum there was quickly faded as the Bruins won every set against the Aggies. But Wilson was still pleased with the weekend overall.

“UCLA was too good today,” Wilson said. “They have a very good team and took it to us in a few spots. Overall, it was a good weekend for us, and I’m confident that we can grow from this experience.”

In the doubles matches, senior Jaime Barajas and Carvajal lost 2-6 while Serrano and Bucur lost 4-6. Nakajima and Holm were winning their set 5-4 but it was called early due to the results of the two finished sets.

In singles, the Aggies failed to win more than four games in any of their sets. Carvajal lost 2-6, 3-6 to Logan Staggs, the No. 55 ranked singles player. Barajas lost his match to Martin Redlicki by the same score of 2-6, 3-6. The loss was then sealed when UCLA sophomore beat Bucur 6-4, 6-4.

Utah State will return home Sunday to face Boise State (1-2) in their first Mountain West showdown of the year.

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