By Michael Zavala
Although the men’s tennis team was already eliminated from
postseason contention, it had something else to play for last week:
That pride enabled the Broncos to finish the season on a high
note with a winning record, something they had not achieved in five
Cal Poly (8-7) defeated Hope International in its season finale
Tuesday, 6-3. The Broncos’ eight wins are the most since they
finished 8-12 in 2004 and their first winning record since they
finished 13-8 in 2003.
“I really like the character of this team,” said head coach
Sandy Kriezel. “We played a lot of tough teams this year. It was
not an easy schedule.”
Some bad luck derailed Cal Poly’s playoff hopes. Colorado
Christian University canceled its match with the Broncos just
before the season began, giving them no time to schedule a
Kriezel was confident Cal Poly could have won that match, which
would have given it a .500 record in Division II matches and made
it eligible for a spot in Regionals.
“I’m a bit disappointed, but we had a good, strong season,” said
The Broncos started the contest off with a strong statement
against the Royals Tuesday, sweeping all three doubles matches.
The No. 1 team of senior Mike Palacio, who was honored before
the game for his two-year contribution to Cal Poly, and sophomore
Joe Madoo defeated Rajko Mladenovic and Marco Kustudji in a
hard-fought match, 9-8 (8-6).
In the No. 2 match, sophomore Joshua Lau and junior Jeffrey
Vachirajongkol beat Johan Weich and Joey Nedelesky, 8-5.
Junior Eric Carlstrom and freshman Salvador Romero won against
Brett Harvey and Perris Rowan in the No. 3 match, 8-1.Singles,
however, started slowly for Cal Poly.
Lau lost to Mladenovic in the No. 1 match, 6-0, 6-2; Romero was
defeated by Kustudji in the No. 2 match, 6-4, 7-5; and Madoo lost
against Weich in the No. 3 match, 6-3, 6-4.
The Broncos then picked it up in the final three singles
slots.Palacio ended his Cal Poly career on a high note with a tough
victory against Nedelesky in the No. 4 spot, 6-2, 4-6
(10-8).Jeffrey Vachirajongkol beat Harvey in the No. 5 match, 6-1,
6-0, and junior Jackie Vachirajongkol made short work of Rowan in
the No. 6 match, 6-0, 6-0.
“The team worked 100 percent through their last match,” said
Kriezel is excited for next season because the Broncos will
return many seasoned, experienced players along with introducing
solid recruits. Palacio is the lone graduating senior from this
Many players are capable of stepping up another level after
having made a significant leap this season, according to
Kriezel.Lau finished with a 9-6 record in No. 1 singles after going
8-8 last year; Jeffrey Vachirajongkol had an impressive 11-4
combined mark at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 singles; and Madoo finished
with a 5-5 record despite missing much of the season with an ankle
Overall, the only returning player to finish with a sub-.500
record in singles was Romero, who was 5-10 at No. 2 singles and
figures to use the experience he gained this season to make a big
improvement next season.
“I’m looking forward to next year,” said Kriezel. “We will be
better. We had a lot of new guys who didn’t know what to expect
this year, and now we have a solid foundation. I’m looking forward
to a playoff run.”
Diva Rescia/Poly Post
Broncos are kings of court against Royals
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