After a victory in the Summit League championship on April 29 earned them an automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles, the DU men’s tennis team’s season ended with a 4-0 loss to No. 4 University of Southern California (USC) in the tournament’s first round on May 12. With this season-ending match, DU ended their season with a 13-13 overall record.
USC won doubles point, as DU seniors Alex Gasson (Alton, United Kingdom) and Yannick James (St. Georges, Grenada) fought hard but dropped their match 5-4. Senior Diego Rocha (Lisbon, Portugal) and junior Jesse Ruder Hook (Denver, Colorado) also lost their doubles match, 6-4.
James, the Summit League Player of the Year, lost his singles match 6-2 and 6-4. Gasson and Rocha put up good fights in their singles matches, yet both fell to the Trojans with 7-5 and 7-6 finishes.
Ruder Hook almost captured a point for DU in his singles match. He lost 7-5 in the first and tied the second at 4-4 before it was suspended. DU did not see a win in the Marks Stadium and left with a 4-0 loss.
Despite the loss, Rocha was later honored when DU held its annual Pioneer Awards Ceremony in the Cable Center on May 18. Rocha went home with the Managerial Leadership Award, which is awarded to an undergraduate management major who has demonstrated excellent leadership potential in the business world.
DU ended their season undefeated in conference games with a 6-0 record. Rocha ended his season strong with a six-game winning streak, while also going 8-1 in his last ten single matches. In doubles, freshman Pedro Del Valle’s (Newport Beach, California) and junior Wyatt Lovera’s (Miami, Florida) last ten matches looked great, as their record was 8-2 with a five-game winning streak.