UC Irvine swept all three doubles matches and defeated Columbia, 6-3, in the opening round of the NCAA tennis championships Friday at Athens, Ga. It was Irvine's first victory in an NCAA championship match.
Irvine, the 15th-seeded team in the 20-team tournament, will play Cal State Long Beach, the No. 2-seeded team, in the second round today. Long Beach had a first-round bye.
Long Beach and UC Irvine split their two Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. meetings this season. Irvine defeated Long Beach in the PCAA tournament to help gain a bid to the NCAA championships.
"We feel Long Beach is really the main obstacle between us and getting into the finals," said Greg Patton, Irvine coach. "I feel we have Long Beach's number, but it's going to be scary."
After the Anteaters split the singles matches with Columbia, Irvine's No. 1 doubles team of Mark Kaplan and Trevor Kronemann defeated Howard Endelman and Keith Thomas, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Irvine's No. 2 team of Julian Barham and Darren Yates then defeated Matt Litsky and Phil Williamson, 6-4, 7-5.
Richard Lubner and Steve Oliver, Irvine's No. 3 team, defeated Jeff Chiang and Robert Kresberg, 6-3, 6-1, to complete the doubles sweep.
Barham, Yates and Lubner won in singles for Irvine (25-10).
Irvine might have to meet Long Beach without No. 5 singles player Shige Kanroji, who dove for a ball in the third set of his match Friday and injured his thumb. If Kanroji can't play, Oliver--who played very little singles this season--will play at the No. 6 spot and Lubner will move to No. 5.
The Anteaters' only other appearance in the NCAA championships was in 1983, when they lost to Clemson.