No. 46 Utah State men's tennis (9-6, 1-0 MW) continues its 2018 dual match season at the San Diego-hosted Spring Invite on Thursday, March 15 through Saturday, March 17. The Aggies begin the invite by taking on No. 44 San Diego (5-4, 1-0 WCC) on Thursday at 11 a.m. MT. Utah State and San Diego are two of the eight-team field, including No. 24 Memphis (8-4, 2-0 AAC), Rice (5-9, 0-1 C-USA), Arizona (12-7, 0-2 Pac-12), No. 37 Texas Tech (14-4, 0-0 Big 12), San Diego State (2-9, 1-0 MW) and No. 25 Harvard (12-2, 0-0 Ivy League). USU is a combined 4-7 against members of the tournament field.
"Our team is excited to be amongst such a strong field of teams, and I'm hoping to see consistent effort throughout the tournament," head coach James Wilson said. "Tomorrow will be another great opportunity for us against a top-50 opponent in San Diego. They have a really good team and are well coached, so it's going to be a battle."
In singles during the dual match season, freshman Felipe Acosta leads the Aggies with an 8-0 record at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 spots. Freshman Jose Carvajal is 8-5 at the Nos. 2 through 6 spots, while sophomore Sergiu Bucur is 7-4 at the Nos. 1 through 3 spots. In doubles, senior Jaime Barajas and Carvajal lead the way with a 5-2 mark at the No. 1 spot, followed by Acosta and freshman Addy Vashistha, who are 3-0 at the No. 3 spot. Barajas is currently second in all-time wins in USU history with 136 and needs two more to tie Jakob Asplund for first on the list.
San Diego won the lone matchup with Utah State in its 6-1 win last season. In singles, freshman August Holmgren, who is ranked No. 75 in the nation in singles, is 6-2 at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots; sophomore Joel Gamerov, who is ranked No. 107 in the nation, is 5-3 at the Nos. 3 and 4 spots; and sophomore Nico Borter is 5-4 at the Nos. 2 through 4 spots. In doubles, Borter and sophomore Gui Osorio, who are ranked No. 49 in the nation, are 8-2 at the No. 1 spot, while Gamerov and Holmgren are 6-3 at the No. 2 spot.
With a victory on Thursday, Utah State will advance to face the winner of Memphis and Rice on Friday.
Utah State and Memphis have never faced in program history. In singles for the Tigers, senior Ryan Peniston, who is ranked No. 63 in the nation, is 9-1 at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, while senior Andrew Watson is 8-3 at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots. In doubles, Peniston and Watson lead the Tigers with a 5-5 mark at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots.
A match with Rice would also mark the first in program history for the Aggies. The Owls are led by redshirt sophomore Eric Rutledge, who is 8-2 at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots, while freshman Conrad Russell is 7-4 at the Nos. 4 and 5 spots. In doubles, freshman Jacob Eskeland and Russell are 5-7 at the Nos. 1 and 2 spots.
Ashley Springer is a student at Utah State University studying journalism and communication. Springer is an intern with the USU athletic department's media relations.