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April 19, 2014

Cal Poly Clinches No. 2 Seed in Big West Tournament with Win Over UCSB

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — The three seniors on Cal Poly's men's tennis team made the last home match of their careers one to remember, as the Mustangs won the annual Blue-Green Rivalry showdown with UC Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon 4-3.

Hawai'i (4-0, 7-11) had already secured the top seed in next week's Big West Conference Championship Tournament thanks to its 4-3 win at fifth-place UC Irvine (1-4, 11-16) on Friday, meaning the winner on the Central Coast would automatically lock up the No. 2 seed, along with the accompanying remaining bye into the semifinals at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

A rematch with the Gauchos is a possibility, as the Mustangs (now 4-1, 9-12) will wait until 3 p.m. Friday to face either UCSB (3-1, 8-13) or UC Riverside (0-5, 2-21), whose first-rounder will start at 9 a.m. Thursday.

In Saturday's win, freshman Ben Donovan and senior Jurgen De Jager got things started by edging Teague Hamilton and Andrew Riminton on the No. 3 court, 8-6.

Then, the reigning all-conference second-team senior duo of Marco Comuzzo and Matt Thomson won by the same score at No. 1 over Ziad Sultan and Sasha Gryaznov to light the doubles point on the scoreboard.

In singles, Comuzzo topped Gryaznov, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2, before junior Naveen Beasley also won in straight sets at No. 6 over Riminton, 6-2, 6-2 to put the Mustangs up 3-0.

Comuzzo (pictured at right), playing primarily No. 1 or No. 2 singles over the past two seasons, will enter the conference tournament with the eighth-highest career aggregate winning percentage in dual matches (regardless of order in the lineup) during Cal Poly's 20 years of Division I tennis, at .595.

Additionally, in career singles and doubles victories accumulated in dual play, Comuzzo has the third-highest total winning percentage among Mustangs over the past two decades, at .637. On Saturday, he reached the career 100-win plateau in that category (121 including tournaments).

After UCSB won on the No. 1 court, Thomson clinched the team win for the second week in a row, this time by defeating Miles Seemann at No. 5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

It was the fourth time in the past five meetings between the two rivals that the margin of victory has been 4-3.

Overall, in both singles and doubles in their time at Cal Poly, Comuzzo, De Jager and Thomson have combined to win 226 times individually, and over the past four seasons, they've helped contribute to a combined 18-3 record in Big West dual matches.

Also making history, De Jager — playing mostly at the Nos. 3 through 5 spots — finished his regular-season career with a singles winning percentage of .723 in duals, which ranks No. 2 among all Cal Poly players over the past 20 years.

Cal Poly's semifinal at the upcoming tournament will take place on courts 15 through 20.