MORAGA, Calif. -- Tuomas Manner made a bit of history, and the doubles team of Joakim Norstrom and Jesse Kiuru kept their hopes of a title alive as the Saint Mary's men's tennis team continued its outstanding play on day three of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association ITA Northwest Regional in Moraga.
The day began in fine fashion for Saint Mary's, as Norstrom and Kiuru punched their ticket to Monday's quarterfinals with a 8-5 win over Stanford's Denis Lin and Maciek Romanowicz.
The job is far from over for the No. 6 seeded Gaels, with a match against No. 1 seeds Jeff Mullen and Robin Cambier of Oregon waiting for them on Monday morning.
From there, singles play took center stage. Kiuru moved past the round of 16 with an impressive 6-4, 6-3 win over West Coast Conference foe Thai Tu of San Francisco. Manner defeated Pacific's Alex Golding 6-2, 6-4 and Norstrom fell 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 to No. 3 seed John Lamble of Santa Clara.
The afternoon matches had all the drama anyone could ask for. Kiuru engaged in an intense three-set battle with Stanford's Nolan Paige, but couldn't quite get the victory as Paige pulled out a 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 win to advance to the semifinals.
That left Manner as the Gaels' lone remaining player in the Open singles draw and, for a while, it looked like Saint Mary's would be shut out of the semifinals altogether as No. 7 Ilya Osintsev of Santa Clara took the first set 6-2.
But Manner wasn't done. He rallied to beat Osintsev 7-6 in the second set, then locked up his spot in Monday's action with a dominant 6-0 win in the third set.
With the win, Manner became the first Saint Mary's men's tennis player ever to reach the ITA Regional semifinals.
That bit of history came after the Gaels distringuished themselves in another way, as Saint Mary's joined Cal and Stanford as the only schools in the tournament to send three players to the Open singles round of 16.
"I can't overstate (how well we're playing)," Saint Mary's coach Michael Wayman said.
Manner will face No. 2 seed Ben McLachlan of Cal in the semifinals on Monday at noon.