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TENNIS / OJAI TOURNAMENT

Anteaters Can't Spoil Day for Patton

April 26, 1998|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The UC Irvine men's tennis team tried to ruin former Anteater Coach Greg Patton's going-away party and extend their season. But UCI came up short, losing, 4-1, to Boise State in the Big West Conference men's semifinals Saturday at the Ojai Valley Inn.

If nothing else, the Anteaters can take comfort that they played one of their best matches of the season and made Patton sweat in one his final college matches. Patton is leaving college tennis after the season for a coaching job with the U.S. Tennis Assn.

UCI, ranked 70th, lost the doubles point to 13th-ranked Boise State and lost the first set in four of five singles matches. But the Anteaters won two second sets and were leading in another for a short time.

"They put up a lot of road blocks," Patton said. "They're a scrappy team and we're doing it with pins and needles with all our injuries."

Nick Varvais, at No. 2 singles, was one of the Anteaters to force a third set. He led, 2-1, in the third and was up a service break before falling to Tsolak Gevorkian, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

"He wasn't looking too happy there when I went up on him," Varvais said. "But I let it slip away. I think my match would have totally changed this around if I could have won it."

But minutes after Varvais lost, UCI's Brett Lucas lost on the next court to Shane Hurst, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, clinching the match for Boise State. Irvine's only win came at No. 6 singles with David Matthew's victory over Cory Dalos, 6-3, 6-4.

With Irvine's low ranking, it is doubtful the Anteaters can qualify for the NCAA regionals.

"I wanted our season to go a little longer," Varvais said. "We'd been getting better. I think we kind of underachieved early in the season. But today we kind of played like I thought we would all year."

Patton was relieved to have UCI behind him and he was already looking ahead to today's opponent, UC Santa Barbara--another team Patton once coached.

Today, Patton will go for his 11th conference title in 17 years and Boise State's second consecutive Big West title.

"This is fun," he said. "This is Shangri-La."

College notes:

Arizona State's Faye DeVera (Villa Park High) and Kerry Giardino defeated Brandi Freudenberg (El Modena) and Kelly Rudolph of UCLA, 6-3, 6-1, in the Pac-10 women's invitational doubles semifinals. In the Pac-10 men's invitational doubles, Geoff Abrams (Newport Harbor) and Charles Hoeveler of Stanford won their semifinal against Adrian Barnes and Scott Kintz of California, 6-3, 2-1 (retired).

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